McDonald Will Be Too Much For Lineker To Handle

Michael McDonald

Thursday, July 7, 2016 5:51 PM GMT

If the UFC odds are correct, John Lineker is likely to beat Michael McDonald next week at Fight Night 91 in South Dakota. But is Lineker biting off more than he can chew?

There's going to be a ton of betting value at UFC 200. Millions of casual fans will tune in this Saturday night to the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts. But how many of them will stick around for Wednesday's UFC Fight Night 91 event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota? Not very many. Which is a shame, because there's an interesting main event between bantamweights Michael McDonald and John Lineker – and there might be some value for your UFC picks, too.

The Weight
Here's the deal: The original main event was between two winners of The Ultimate Fighter: Tony Ferguson and Michael Chiesa. But Chiesa hurt his back last week, so the card got shuffled around, and McDonald-Lineker was moved up the card from co-headliner. It speaks well for Lineker (27-7 lifetime, 8-2 UFC); the popular Brazilian is known as Mão-de-Pedra (Hands of Stone), with 12 of his 27 career wins via knockout.

It's been a while since Lineker KO'd anyone, though. The former Jungle Fight Bantamweight champion made his UFC debut in 2012 as a flyweight, but while he was knocking fools out, Lineker was also having trouble making weight – he failed four times, most recently before his unanimous decision over “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall (–280) at UFC 183.

So Lineker returned to the Bantamweight division. He choked out Francisco Rivera (+120) last September at UFC 191, then settled for a unanimous decision over Rob Font (+110) this past May at UFC 198. Lineker confessed he didn't even know who Font was, and felt sad because he couldn't knock out Font in front of the home fans in Brazil.

Keep Forgettin'
This is where Lineker's power of the punch starts to look a bit less powerful. He's in the Octagon with bigger fighters now, and when he touches gloves with McDonald (17-3 lifetime, 6-2 UFC), Lineker will be giving up six inches in height and three inches in reach. McDonald is also a good defensive fighter with a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; Lineker has a blue belt.

People seem to have forgotten about McDonald. He was a rising star before suffering losses to Renan Barão (–340) and Urijah Faber (–173), then taking two years off to recover from various injuries. McDonald returned in January and beat Masanori Kanehara (+350) by rear-naked choke to earn his first performance bonus.

The UFC odds may not be on McDonald's side, but we are here at the home office. He's an undervalued commodity, while Lineker is facing the double challenge of stepping up a level in competition (both in size and quality), with less than two months elapsed since his last fight. We'll happily recommend the underdog in this situation, and may the Octagon be with you.

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Free UFC Pick: McDonald +155
Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb
Record: 7-0 ML, 1-1 Totals, 1-0 Props (+9.50 units)