The return of ONE Bantamweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes to action will wait a little longer as his title defense against number one contender, John Lineker, was called off due to Lineker testing positive for COVID 19, multiple sources confirmed.
This is the second time that the match has been pushed back since the initial meeting last December 2021; when the cases in Singapore surged that month.
Lineker, a former UFC fighter, earned his title shot by staying undefeated under the ONE Banner and defeated all three of his opponents, including stoppages of Troy Worthen and former champion Kevin Belingon.
Meanwhile, Fernandes last saw action in October 2019 when he closed his rivalry with Kevin Belingon by submitting him in their fourth fight. The “Flash” also went on a contract standoff with the Singapore-based promotion during his hiatus but it was later on resolved.
ONE hasn’t officially announced the news, but the Brazilian champion voiced out his frustration over the situation as what he told the Post, “I’m very disappointed, I have to be respectful of John Lineker. I hope he has a good, quick recovery. I don’t know. [Expletive]. I’m not happy, to come to this point, and now I can’t fight. That’s no good.”
Additionally, the bantamweight king requested for a last-minute opponent change, however, ONE stated that the window to find a new foe is too tight, “I asked, [They said] it’s too close.I said give me anything. Give me grappling match, give me Muay Thai match, give me anything. I’m here, I made weight, but I cannot do nothing,“ Fernandes claimed.
In the wake of this development, the interim heavyweight clash of Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko might be assigned to be the headliner of the ONE: Bad Blood event this coming Friday.
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