The hard-hitting #1 contender knocked out the division’s longtime king with a thudding left hook in the second round of their main event clash at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, proving that his “Hands of Stone” are two of the most potent weapons in all of mixed martial arts.
Both men took some time to work their way into the matchup at the start of round one. Lineker stalked his Brazilian compatriot until Fernandes barrelled forward with a single-leg takedown. From there, the bantamweight king took top position and looked to control the American Top Team representative.
However, after “Hands of Stone” worked his way back up to his feet, the contest exploded into life. Lineker rocked Fernandes with a hard left hook and then started slinging heavy leather, but the man known as “The Flash” soon connected with a left hook of his own that dropped the challenger to the mat.
Lineker recovered and got on top in the ensuing scramble. He rained down heavy bombs that left their mark on “The Flash’s” face, while the reigning king opted to take aim with elbows from underneath.
Things were understandably tentative at the start of the second frame, as both men had already tasted their opponent’s power and knew the risks involved.
“The Flash” scored with another single-leg takedown, but “Hands of Stone” worked hard to get back to his feet before using it as the catalyst to crank up the dial again.
Fernandes seemed content to oblige Lineker in a shoot-out, but it ultimately proved to be his undoing.
Lineker came close with a right hook to the body and then slammed a concussive left hook straight behind it, connecting clean on the AMC Pankration man’s jaw and separating him from his senses.
It was clear Fernandes was done as he hit the mat. The referee waved off the bout at the 3:40 mark of the second round to hand Lineker his 17th knockout victory and the ONE Bantamweight World Title.
“He dropped me in the first round, but I could compose myself and come back,” Lineker said in his post-fight interview with ONE Championship commentator Mitch Chilson.
“Bibiano is a very strong opponent, but I believe in my hands. This is my dream.”