Skip to main content

The List: 3 straight knockouts that made John Lineker ONE's bantamweight MMA king

Before Lineker defends his belt against Fabricio Andrade on October 21, we recap his stunning run to the gold.

Reigning ONE bantamweight world champion John Lineker (35-9) might be the most powerful pound-for-pound puncher in all of mixed martial arts.

And on Friday, October 21, the man nicknamed "Hands of Stone" will look to defend his belt against fellow knockout artist and surging contender Fabricio Andrade (8-2) at ONE on Prime Video 3.

To say that Lineker's style of fighting is "fan friendly" would be an understatement. He's a brawler of the highest degree who lowers his head and pressures forward as he throws his trademark looping hooks.

The Brazilian used that style to claim the ONE Bantamweight World Title earlier this year, and his run to the gold was nothing short of spectacular.

Before he returns live in U.S. primetime, let's recap the three consecutive KOs that elevated Lineker to the divisional throne.

Destroys a former king

After a unanimous decision victory in his ONE debut, Lineker squared off with dangerous striker and former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon at "ONE: Inside the Matrix III" in November 2020.

After a somewhat tepid start, the two athletes were soon exchanging heavy strikes.

As a wushu stylist with superb kicks, Belignon tried to land his trademark spinning attack, but "Hands of Stone" defended well and charged forward with massive counterpunches.

By the second round, the Brazilian's relentless pressure had forced the Filipino into a defensive shell. A jab-uppercut combination then crumbled Belignon to the floor, giving Lineker his first knockout in ONE Championship.

Making the finish even more surprising, Belignon had never before been stopped by strikes. And although Lineker's power was never in doubt, this win showed he might be the most devastating puncher in the bantamweight division.

Melts Troy Worthen inside one round

The brawling Brazilian next faced wrestling standout Troy Worthen at "ONE on TNT III" in April 2021.

In what was probably a strategic decision to dissuade the American from shooting for a takedown, Lineker attacked with body punches early and often.

Those strikes quickly lowered Worthen's hands, setting up a picture-perfect straight right that connected on the chin and scored the KO in the final 30 seconds of the first frame.

With the victory, "Hands of Stone" secured his 16th career knockout – and a shot at longtime bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes.

Claims belt in spectacular fashion

Lineker captured the ONE bantamweight world title in one of 2022's most entertaining firefights against Bibiano Fernandes at "ONE: Lights Out" this past March.

An early Fernandes takedown put "Hands of Stone" on the mat in the opening minute, but the latter showcased a solid get-up game as he patiently worked back to his feet.

Once standing, the two Brazilians traded heavy leather. Lineker found a home for big left hooks, but it was a hook from Fernandes that dropped the challenger.

In the second, "Hands of Stone" was again taken down – but he again worked back to his feet, where he went into full berserker mode.

The 32-year-old pressured Fernandes into the ONE circle wall while unloading thunderous, looping punches. Ultimately, a massive left hook landed flush on the jaw, immediately shutting off the defending titleholder's lights.

With the highlight-reel finish, Lineker was the new ONE bantamweight world champion and the first man to stop "The Flash" since his MMA debut in 2006.

Much more than just a hard-charging knockout artist, this victory demonstrated Lineker's ability to avoid danger on the ground and safely stand back up.

This story first published at