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Relive John Lineker’s ONE Championship debut against rising star Muin Gafurov

John Lineker (right) fought Muin Gafurov (left) in his ONE Championship debut. (Image courtesy of ONE)
John Lineker (right) fought Muin Gafurov (left) in his ONE Championship debut. (Image courtesy of ONE)

ONE bantamweight world champion John Lineker is a man with punches that perfectly reflect his nickname, 'Hands of Stone'. The Brazilian's power-centric MMA game largely involves throwing anything that could incapacitate you immediately.

He doesn't care where it lands; Lineker just throws with absolute power, such that it shatters your entire being if it connects. 'Hands of Stone' has that much strength in nearly every limb of his anatomy.

When he debuted in ONE Championship in 2019, a lot of people saw him steam-rolling through the division. While he did win his debut, it was surprisingly competitive as he faced combat sambo world champion Muin Gafurov.

After a nail-biting exchange on the feet where Gafurov brazenly engaged Lineker in a stand-up war, 'Hands of Stone' threw an unlikely weapon: a roundhouse kick. The kick connected to Gafurov's solar plexus and seemed to have hurt him. From there, John Lineker swarmed his opponent, throwing hooks that could knock out a cow.

Rounds two and three saw Gafurov mixing his attacks with his grappling, seemingly having learned his lesson to not play with fire on the feet. Lineker, however, marvelously defended nearly all of Gafurov's takedown entries while connecting with a few of his earth-rattling punches.

Watch the full fight below:

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John Lineker defends his ONE bantamweight world title against Fabricio Andrade at ONE on Prime Video 3

At ONE on Prime Video 3 on October 21, John Lineker will make the first defense of his ONE bantamweight world title. It's not going to be a walk in the park, though, as he will face the heavy-hitting 'Wonder Boy' Fabricio Andrade.

Andrade has been hell-bent on receiving a world title shot ever since his debut in ONE Championship. Having finally received what he wanted after stopping Kwon Won Il with a liver kick in June, Andrade has all the confidence in the world leading up to his eventual clash with Lineker.

'Wonder Boy' even made a bold statement when he posted the event's poster on his Instagram:

"In 17 days I am gonna turn Lineker in to a wrestler, I am the real hands of stone. #ANDNEW #wonderboy #oneonprimevideo3"

An interesting prediction indeed. John Lineker is not known for his grappling, as he almost always prefers to knock his opponents out while standing. If Andrade indeed hurts Lineker enough that 'Hands of Strone' desperately opts to wrestle, that would be something to behold.

Not that Lineker won't be a threat on the ground, however. The man holds a brown belt in BJJ, and it would be interesting to see how he utilizes it against an explosive knockout artist like Andrade.

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Edited by Avinash Tewari
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