A pair of flyweight contenders met at UFC 169, when Russian Ali Bagautinov took on Brazilian John Lineker. Many thought the winner was the rightful title contender at 125 pounds.
After three grueling rounds of grappling and fighting a chess match, the Russian came out on top via decision. It is a win that could lead him to an eventual title fight.
Here's what we learned from this pivotal bout.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
To be honest, nothing. This fight reversed the great excitement that Abel Trujillo and Jamie Varner brought to the cage.
So I don't make this headline completely worthless, I'll say we'll remember that Lineker did not gas out despite the fact that he missed weight on his first try. One would assume that after having to make weight on a second attempt, his cardio would be hurt.
He didn't show much Saturday night, but he didn't gas out either. I guess that's a tiny win to take out of this fight.
What We Learned About Bagautinov
He is not ready for a title shot. Despite beating Lineker, he was not overly impressive and did not punish him for missing weight.
His wrestling is good, but he out-grappled a striker. If he did that against Demetrious Johnson, he would be outclassed by a better man.
Ali Bagautinov on Demetrious Johnson: I'm going to get to the title sooner or later. If I get the offer, I'll never turn it down.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) February 2, 2014
What We Learned About Lineker
He needs to learn how to better cut weight. Oh wait, we already knew that? Then, he needs to tighten up his ground game.
He is a great striker, but his takedown defense is decent at best. Unless he is knocking dudes out, he is susceptible to getting exposed on the ground.
What's Next for Bagautinov?
Because of the shallowness of the division, one would assume Johnson is next for Bagautinov. He is 3-0 with the UFC and can make a good claim to the UFC gold.
What's Next for Lineker?
A trip to bantamweight would be ideal. Otherwise, a bout against the loser of Brad Pickett and Ian McCall could make for an interesting fight.