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John Lineker wins close decision in ONE Championship debut

UFC veteran John Lineker won a decision against bantamweight Muin Gafurov in Jakarta.
ONE Championship

John Lineker entered a cage for the first time after his seven-year, 16-fight career in the UFC came to an end earlier this year, and had to work hard for a decision win at ONE Championship.

“Hands of Stone” took on the dangerous Tajikistan-native Muin Gafurov on the main card portion of Friday’s ONE: Dawn of Valor in Jakarta, Indonesia, and traded punches and kicks for the first minute before Gafurov decided to clinch for the first time in the bout. Lineker hurt Garufov for a brief second with a good kick to the body, pressing forward with knees and punches, but wasn’t able to finish the durable opponent.

Garufov switched things up and immediately shot for a takedown as the second stanza started. Lineker tried to secure a guillotine choke, but Garufov eventually escaped from the submission attempt. Back on the feet, Gafurov connected a few spinning kicks before going for more takedown attempts, well-defended by the Brazilian.

The Tajikistani bantamweight returned to the final round looking for more takedowns, but Lineker had success defending his initial attempts. The UFC veteran insisted on throwing heavy right hands but not following up with more attacks, allowing Gafurov to counter with a successful takedown. It didn’t take long for Lineker to get back on his feet, though.

In the end, after a close 15-minute contest in Indonesia, Lineker earned his first victory under the ONE Championship banner via unanimous decision.