When John Lineker is on, he’s a tough man for any bantamweight to beat.
The fighter nicknamed “Hands of Stone” lived up to his nickname Saturday night at UFC 224, as the Brazilian put on a show for his homeland fans in Rio de Janeiro. Lineker peppered Brian Kelleher with shots to the head and body throughout the bout and punctuated things late in the third round with a knockout left hand.
The time of the finish was 3:43 of the third round.
Lineker set the tone early in the first round when he dropped Kelleher with a shot to the head. The Long Island native cleared the cobwebs and got back to his feet, but he was never really able to get his offense untracked.
Lineker blasted Kelleher with a mix of heavy hands to the head and body, and kept Kelleher backpedaling, a pattern which continued for the bulk of the first two rounds.
The game Kelleher sensed the urgency in the third round and did his best, but only left himself open for the finishing blow, a brutally efficient left hook which ended the bout on the spot.
The victory was Lineker’s second in a row and eighth in his past nine fights as he improved to 31-8. Kelleher (19-9), who has fought five times since debuting in the UFC last summer, had a two-fight win streak snapped.