Perennial contender John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen met in a pivotal bantamweight contest on UFC Ft. Lauderdale’s main card.

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Lineker (31-8) has won eight of his last nine fights dating back to 2014. His only loss in that stretch was to the former champion T.J. Dillashaw. A win over Sanhagen would bolster Lineker’s No. 8 ranking.

As for Sandhagen (10-1). Heading into Ft. Lauderdale the 27-year-old has won five straight. With his last three being in the UFC. He most recently defeated Mario Bautista in January.

Round One

Sandhagen quickly takes the center of the cage. Lineker wings a head kick that misses. He throws a left hand that hits the body. Sandhagen moves forward and lands a one-two. He slams a body kick home. Sandhagen digs a hook to the body of Lineker. The Brazilian is looking to load up, Sandhagen throws a flying knee. Lineker lands a left hand, then a body shot. Lineker doubles up on a left hook. He wades in and lands another left. Sandhagen lands a right, then a front kick. He throws a spinning back kick that misses. Lineker goes body-head with his hands. Sandhagen lands a leg kick, then a left hook to the body of Lineker. The horn sounds as both fighters exchange leg kicks.

Round Two

Sandhagen lands a leg kick to start round two. Lineker lands a hook to the body of the American. Sandhagen pumps the jab, Lineker launches in with a right hand. He wings a right hook that misses everything. Sandhagen goes to the body with a hook. He faints, then throws a front kick. Lineker seems to be getting his timing now. Sandhagen gets in on Lineker and takes him down. However, the Brazilian springs back up to his feet. Less than two minutes. Lineker shoots and gets the takedown back. He cranks Sandhagen’s neck but Sandhagen spins out. Both men get back to their feet. Lineker lands a right looping hand. Sandhagen counters with a jab. He digs a hook to the body as the round ends.

Round Three

Sandhagen opens up with leg kicks. Lineker goes body-head-body but the American survives. Sandhagen answers with a right hand of his own, he goes to the body to follow. Lineker answers with a right hook to the body, then a right to the head. Sandhagen leads with an elbow. The fighters trade jabs. Crazy fight. Sandhagen faints a takedown then lands a hard body kick. Lineker wings a left hook. He is looking for the knock out punch. Sandhagen lands a jumping knee to Lineker’s chin. He eats it with less than 90 seconds left. Lineker goes body-head. He digs the body again. He lands a right. Lineker digs the body hard. He drops Sandhagen and looks for a choke. It’s tight. The horn sounds.

Cory Sandhagen defeats John Lineker via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Mike Straus @AKAstraus21 is a credentialed MMA journalist and a member of the MMAJA. He has been a fan of the sport since its inception and has been covering the sport professionally for three years. In the past, he has produced content for Fansided's Cagepages,, and He currently contributes for, he is a staff writer for, and He most recently began writing for