Preview and predictions for ONE on TNT 3: John Lineker vs. Troy Worthen.
ONE Championship continues to roll with its April weekly series on TNT, as ONE on TNT 3 will feature another familiar face to UFC fans, John Lineker, taking on Troy Worthen in the scheduled main event.
Lineker was originally pegged to take on Stephen Loman, but Loman was forced out earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19.
Since joining ONE following his UFC release, Lineker has been successful in both bouts he’s had, defeating Muin Gafurov in October 2019 and Kevin Belingon in November 2020.
Joining ONE Championship in 2019, Worthen won three straight before being defeated by Yusup Saadulaev in December, Worthen’s first loss as an MMA pro.
Who will win at ONE on TNT 3: John Lineker or Troy Worthen?
The main card will also feature Reece McLaren taking on Yuya Wakamatsu in flyweight action. McLaren comes into this bout off a win over Aleksi Toivonen in October, while Wakamatsu knocked out Kyu Sung Kim in November to win his third straight.
Let’s take a look at these two main card bouts more in-depth.
John Lineker vs. Troy Worthen preview and prediction
John Lineker was once a star flyweight and bantamweight in the UFC, scoring wins over the likes of Rob Font, Michael McDonald, John Dodson, Marlon Vera and Brian Kelleher. He racked up a 12-4 record in the Octagon before being released by the promotion in 2019.
Signed by ONE Championship about a week later, Lineker had a successful ONE debut at ONE: Dawn of Valor in October 2019, defeating Muin Gafurov by decision. He then scored a second-round TKO of former ONE bantamweight champion Kevin Belingon at ONE: Inside the Matrix 3 in November.
After winning his first four pro bouts, three of them in Combat Night Pro, Worthen joined ONE Championship in 2019. He racked up three wins over Rui Chen, Lei Chen and Mark Abelardo before suffering his first loss at the hands of Yusup Saadulaev in December.
Worthen is younger than Lineker by a couple of years and has the physical edge, sporting a four-inch height advantage. Of course, Lineker far and away has the experience factor.
As anyone who’s watched in him the UFC may have seen, Lineker has boulders for hands, having the ability to knock someone out in one punch, and they’re fairly quick hands at that. Worthen sports some decent jiu-jitsu, but Lineker is fairly skilled on the ground and does have a few submissions to his name.
It would be interesting to see if Lineker would be able to handle Bibiano Fernandes in a potential fight. But for now — in spite of ONE’s proudness that some of its homegrown athletes have been able to top stars who have come over from the UFC — he’ll just have to give Worthen a growing experience.
Prediction: Lineker via second-round KO/TKO
Reece McLaren vs. Yuya Wakamatsu preview and prediction
Reece McLaren started his run in ONE by winning bouts with Mark Striegl and Muin Gafurov before coming up just short in a bantamweight title fight with Bibiano Fernandes. McLaren was quickly finished by Kevin Belingon but rebounded with consecutive victories over Anatpong Bunrad, Gianni Subba and Tatsumitsu Wada.
McLaren dropped decisions to Kairat Akhmetov and Danny Kingad but has since rebounded with first-round finishes of Gary Mangat and Aleksi Toivonen. McLaren also competed in a boxing match in November, losing after three rounds to Jacob Wyllie.
After a highly successful run in Pancrase, Yuya Wakamatsu didn’t get his ONE run off to the hottest start, dropping a decision to Danny Kingad and getting submitted by Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in the first round of the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix.
Since then, however, he’s rebounded to win three straight, defeating Geje Eustaquio, Dae Hwan Kim and Kyu Sung Kim — with the first and last of those fights ending by KO/TKO in just under two minutes.
This is a battle of two ONE athletes who have gotten just out of the upper echelon of ONE’s flyweight division and are both clawing to get their way in. Both are pretty well-rounded martial artists, but based on their preferences, this one could end up your typical striker (Wakamatsu) vs. grappler/wrestler (McLaren).
Eleven of Wakamatsu’s victories have come by way of KO or TKO (and no submissions), so McLaren’s strategy is going to be to try and take Wakamatsu down and hold him there in an attempt to do damage and display control. Wakamatsu will have to display a strong takedown defense and force McLaren to stand-and-trade with him.
This one’s a bit too close to call, but McLaren might be able to use his gameplan better.
Prediction: McLaren via unanimous decision
ONE on TNT 3 takes place on Wednesday, April 21, live from Singapore. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.