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John Lineker: The Flyweight Fan Favorite with a Title in Sight

Rightly or wrongly, a lot of MMA fans like finishes, and even more than that, they like knockouts.  The UFC’s lighter weight classes have seen some criticism since their inception in the last few years, but some fighters are turning the tide of public perception.  UFC Fight Night 30’s John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker is one of them.

He came into the UFC as a heavy favorite in 2012 against TUF 14’s Louis Gaudinot.  Despite looking good early in an incredible slugfest, he was ultimately put on his back, and choked unconscious with a guillotine.  Not every Brazilian with a great record would turn out to be Renan Barao, apparently.

But fast forward a year and a half, and ‘Hands of Stone’ finds himself on a three fight winning streak, finishing his last two opponents by knockout.

While Lineker looked okay against Yasuhiro Urushitani, a dominant performance over Azamat Gashimov really had people hyped again to see the Brazilian.  Most recently, he took out fellow countryman Jose Maria Tome at UFC 163, and moved to #5 on the UFC’s official flyweight rankings.

While few believe Lineker is the best flyweight in the world, a championship dream isn’t that unlikely.  He takes on British Judoka Phil Harris on Saturday, who is one of the lower ranked fighters in the division.  With an expected win, Lineker will move to a four fight win streak, and would seem a shoe in to face the winner of Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson.

Lineker’s wrestling hasn’t been tested against anyone with the skill level of either Benavidez or Johnson, but that doesn’t mean a potential fight won’t be competitive.  Lineker has shown he has the power to knock anybody out, and don’t be too shocked if by the end of 2014, Lineker is holding the belt.