Fabricio Andrade will challenge John Lineker for the vacant bantamweight title at Friday’s ONE Championship card in Bangkok, Thailand, and says he’s actually surprised his fellow Brazilian had agreed to running it back after their first encounter.
“Wonderboy” and “Hands of Stone” first met in October but the bout ended in a no-contest after Andrade landed an unintentional low blow in the third round. Andrade said on this week’s Trocação Franca he expected Lineker to find a way out and force him to face someone else first.
“I was surprised he agreed to the rematch,” Andrade said. “He came out pretty bad from that fight, right? I thought maybe he would try to push it back a little bit or wait for me to fight somebody else and wait for the winner, but turns out he agreed to fighting in February, which was good timing for me as well. I was very happy and surprised.”
Lineker was no longer the champion going into that fight because he missed weight the day before, so Andrade was the only that could walk away with the belt. The UFC veteran has shared cages with the likes of T.J. Dillashaw, Rob Font, Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen prior to his 4-0 run at ONE, but Andrade feels he’s the worst possible match-up for him.
“[Lineker] knows my game is very complicated for him,” said Andrade, who is also unbeaten under the ONE banner with four finishes in five wins. “He knows he’ll never have an easy fight with me, so he was trying to fight other guys who are in the ranking. He said he never saw my callouts, but we know what the truth is. He knows I’m not a good match-up for him, it’s a very complicated game, and he tried avoiding this fight, but it had to happen after my performances.
“I was calling for this title fight for a while and [ONE] kept sending me other people. I was knocking everybody out and was anxious to fight for the belt. When it finally came, it didn’t end the way I wanted. I was very frustrated. I had to calm my head after the fight because I felt like I had lost the fight. I came out without the belt and no bonus, so it gave me the sensation I had lost the fight.”
Andrade took a few weeks off to relax before going back to training for his second championship bout, saying “I can’t change the past, but now I’ll have a second chance to do better.” He said Lineker’s hands aren’t as heavy as his nickname suggested but still wasn’t happy with his performance in Malaysia.
“He respected me more and was more patient, and that showed he was afraid of getting knocked out,” Andrade said. “He always does the same thing, he can’t change much. It’s something he does for many years, and will do again in the rematch.”
“I won’t pick a round [for the finish], I’ll just enjoy the moment,” he continued. “I’m the better fighter and I have more weapons than him, I’m faster, so I’ll be patient and take my time. I’ll knock him out at any moment, I’m sure of that. I don’t need to be in a hurry. Just go out there and be ready to knock him out and end this circus.”