Best MMA Fight Of 2023: Fabricio Andrade And John Lineker Throw Down In Intense World Title Rematch
Following the disappointing no-contest ending to their first battle, Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade and John “Hands of Stone” Lineker rematched for the vacant ONE Bantamweight MMA World Title at ONE Fight Night 7 on Prime Video.
And given the fast-paced action in their initial encounter, fans couldn’t wait to witness the second battle on February 24 in U.S. primetime.
The hard-hitting Brazilians did not disappoint. They slugged it out for four riveting rounds in Bangkok before Lineker failed to answer the bell for the fifth – and the preceding 20 minutes of action was ONE’s best MMA fight of 2023.
The first round set the tone for the match, with both men content to trade heavy leather.
Andrade had his legs wobbled by a big left hook from “Hands of Stone,” before roaring back to badly hurt his compatriot in the dying seconds.
It seemed like the bell had saved Lineker from an early night, but he charged out unfazed for the second frame, finding a home for his thudding punches and low kicks, while “Wonder Boy” stung him with straight shots and knees.
The bout continued in this vein in round three, as Andrade picked off his rival from long range and then drilled him in the body with knees when Lineker tried to get close.
However, the former divisional king’s looping hooks and hard right counter-punches kept Andrade on his toes.
Things reached a crescendo in the championship rounds.
Both men were wearing the effects of a tough battle, but the 26-year-old Andrade was fresher and still had more pop in his punches. He used that to his advantage, causing serious cuts and swelling around the 33-year-old’s eyes.
With all the damage he’d sustained, Lineker could not come out for the fifth round, awarding “Wonder Boy” the TKO victory – and the ONE Bantamweight MMA World Title he long believed that he deserved.
So, while it was the heart, skill, and tenacity of both athletes that made this fight so memorable, Andrade left as the new king, fulfilling a lifelong dream to sit atop the martial arts world.