"If Bibiano gets his rhythm early, he'll submit Lineker" - Stephen Loman believes Fernandes will force 'Hands of Stone' to tap

(From left) Bibiano Fernandes, Stephen Loman, John Lineker. [Photo: ONE Championship]
(From left) Bibiano Fernandes, Stephen Loman, John Lineker. [Photo: ONE Championship]
James De Rozario

Stephen Loman expects an interesting battle when Bibiano Fernandes defends his crown against fellow Brazilian John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker in the main event of ONE: Bad Blood this Friday, February 11.

The Team Lakay product thinks the world champion will be in for one of his toughest tests as the division king, but ultimately shouldn't have any trouble seeing off the top-ranked contender and securing a record-breaking 12th world title defense.

Ahead of the pair’s clash, 'The Sniper’ said:

“If I have to pick between them, I’ll stick with Bibiano. I think his grappling will be superior. We saw in his past fights that he has a complete skill set. He can strike, and we all know how good he is at jiu-jitsu. If Bibiano gets his rhythm early in the match, he’ll submit Lineker.”

However, he stopped short of completely ruling out Lineker’s chances of leaving the Circle with the golden strap. 'Hands of Stone' is riding a 3-0 run in the promotion, including two highlight-reel knockouts of Kevin Belingon and Troy Worthen.

The Filipino star expects ‘Hands of Stone’ to pounce on the slightest openings if the opportunity arises. From there, he thinks Lineker’s punches could trouble Fernandes.

“The key for Lineker is finding his distance and striking at the right time. If he can find his range and pick his shots from a distance, there’s also a chance that he knocks out Bibiano. He’s a veteran in the game as well. I guess we’ll see what gives."

Stephen Loman's road to a bantamweight title shot

Stephen Loman is currently sitting just behind Lineker and Kwon Won Il in the bantamweight rankings. The Team Lakay representative entered the top five following a win over Yusup Saadulaev in his ONE debut last December.

If he manages to take out one of the men in front of him and make it two in a row inside the Circle, there’s every reason to believe Stephen Loman could get his first shot at a world title.

Otherwise, a match against No. 4-ranked Fabricio Andrade will be a good warmup match before he takes on a ranked opponent above him.

Edited by Harvey Leonard


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