Sure, the idea of “Cowboy” vs. “Cowboy” is cool from a marketing standpoint to try and save the upcoming UFC Fight Night 83 card.
But, in all honesty, it’s hard to get very excited for next Sunday’s card.
Donald Cerrone will bring in plenty of folks just to see what he can do to Alex Oliveira in his welterweight debut.
And even the co-main event between rising middleweights Derek Brunson and Roan Carneiro has some stock to it.
But the only real fight with serious title implications and intrigue comes from the bantamweight division with Cody Garbrandt and John Lineker matching up.
It’s scheduled as part of the FOX Sports 1 main card from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, and with the skill sets involved, has all the makings to bring down the house.
Garbrandt, a 24-year-old from Ohio nicknamed “No Love,” trains with the crew at Team Alpha Male. He captured his first five fights before signing with the UFC in 2015 and debuting in impressive fashion, finishing Marcus Brimage in the third round.
A few months later, Garbrandt scored his seventh win in seven tries with a decision over Henry Briones.
Prior to his Octagon debut, Garbrandt’s first four MMA fights took place in Pennsylvania for Pinnacle FC and at Gladiators of the Cage 4.
Lineker, meanwhile, has been right on the cusp of competing for UFC gold, but weight-cutting issues have kept him at the back of the pack. He has won three straight since a decision loss to Ali Bagautinov, settling in at bantamweight with a September submission of Francisco Rivera.
Two of Lineker’s last three wins have scored “Fight of the Night” honors, as he holds three in all two his resume. He’s 7-2 overall with the UFC, losing only his debut to Louis Gaudinot in 2012 and the Bagautinov setback.
While the top of the bantamweight division is stocked full of contenders with Dominick Cruz leading them all as champion, there is no reason to not believe that the winner of Garbrandt-Lineker is one or two more wins away from challenging for the big gold belt.