In a thrilling battle for the ONE Championship bantamweight title in Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Fabricio Andrade emerged victorious over John Lineker after Lineker's corner stopped the fight due to eye damage in the late rounds.
In October 2022, when the two initially faced off for the crown, terrible things happened to each of them. Lineker first forfeited the championship by failing to weigh in, however after Andrade unintentionally struck Lineker in the third round with a cheap shot, the event was declared a no-contest.
Andrade, a Brazilian mixed martial artist with a record of 8-2-1, put on a masterful performance against the heavy-handed Lineker, who came into the fight with a 35-9-1 record. Andrade was able to use his superior striking skills to take Lineker down and control him throughout the fight, while also landing several significant strikes with the feet.
However, Lineker remained dangerous throughout the fight, constantly looking for opportunities to land his devastating punches. And in the later rounds, he appeared to be gaining momentum, throwing heavy shots, and landing some clean strikes on Andrade.
But then, disaster struck Lineker as he suffered a serious eye injury. His corner quickly realized the severity of the situation and made the difficult decision to stop the fight after the 4th round of the main event, handing the victory and the ONE Championship belt to Andrade.
“I have no words to explain what this means to me,” an emotional Andrade said through tears. “It’s been just such a long journey, so many hard things that I’ve been through in my life, with the dream to get here and become the world champion — and to be able to change my life and my family’s life, it’s unbelievable.”
Lineker suffers his first loss while competing in the ONE Championship. The UFC veteran prevailed in his previous four fights with the organization, stopping Bibiano Fernandes to claim the belt last March. It was a disappointing end for Lineker, who had put on a valiant effort and showed his trademark toughness throughout the fight. But ultimately, the safety of the fighters must come first, and Lineker's corner made the right call in stopping the fight.
“Man, he came to fight,” Andrade said of Lineker. “The first fight, he was scared. But this fight, he came to fight. You could see, I’ve got a lot of damage [on my face].”
For Andrade, the victory was a culmination of years of hard work and dedication to his craft. The 25-year-old fighter has been steadily rising through the ranks of the bantamweight division and has now cemented himself as one of the top fighters in the ONE Championship organization.
Andrade suggested that his first championship defense take place versus Stephen Loman, the 27-year-old who defeated former champion Bibiano Fernandes last November, during his post-fight interview.