John Lineker has nothing but respect for Brian Kelleher following their UFC 224 bout.
Lineker and Kelleher did battle on the main card of UFC 224 this past Saturday night (May 12). Kelleher was resilient, but in the end Lineker’s power was simply too much. “Hands of Stone” earned a third-round knockout victory.
The win improved Lineker’s professional mixed martial arts record to 31-8. In those 31 victories, Lineker has garnered 14 knockouts and four submissions. He remains at number six on the official UFC bantamweight rankings.
Speaking to Combate, Lineker praised Kelleher’s effort throughout the contest (via Bloody Elbow):
“Brian is amazing. He’s really tough and so durable. When the first round was over, I knew I had hit him with some hard shots, but he didn’t go down. I thought to myself ‘that’s a tough dude’. He tried to take me down, but couldn’t do it. I was very prepared. His power to absorb shots really impressed me. I trained a lot of wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I want to be as complete as possible for my title shot.”
Lineker finds himself in an interesting spot. He’s gone 8-1 in his last nine outings. The one loss in that span was to T.J. Dillashaw, who is the reigning UFC bantamweight champion. Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes are set to clash in June. Raphael Assuncao, who is the third ranked bantamweight, is open so perhaps that’s what’s next.
As for Kelleher, he falls to 19-9. “Boom” had gone 9-1 heading into his bout with Lineker. UFC 224 was Kelleher’s chances to make a splash in the 135-pound rankings, but he has failed to crack the top 15. The good news is, Kelleher’s grit and determination could be enough to get that opportunity again but this time against a lower ranked opponent. Time will tell if that ends up being the case.
What do you think is next for John Lineker?