Jimmie Rivera vs. John Lineker UFC 219 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 12/30/17
Lineker vs. Rivera
UFC: Saturday, December 30, 2017 (T-Mobile Arena)
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Jimmie Rivera and John Lineker fight Saturday during UFC 219 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Jimmie Rivera enters this fight with a 21-1 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by decision. Rivera has won his last 20 fights and is coming off a July win over Thomas Almeida. Rivera is averaging 4.55 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 41 percent. Rivera is averaging 1.22 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 33.3 percent. Rivera still hasn’t lost a fight since his 2008 bout with Jason McLean and has won his last four fights by decision. Rivera is an excellent grappler and wrestler who has yet to be taken down in five UFC fights and is landing 90 percent of his strikes standing up. Rivera isn’t much of a finisher, as he simply likes to control his opponent and wear them down round by round, but three of his last seven wins have been knockouts, so you certainly can’t sleep on his striking ability. Rivera is simply an effective, smart fighter who doesn’t have any glaring holes in his game. This will be Rivera’s first pro MMA fight in Las Vegas.
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John Lineker enters this fight with a 30-8 record and has won 43 percent of his fights by knockout. Lineker has won 10 of his last 12 fights and is coming off an October win over Marlon Vera. Lineker is averaging 5.02 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 39.6 percent. Lineker is averaging 0.56 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 60 percent. Lineker has been rather consistent over the years with wins in seven of his last eight fights, with his only loss during that stretch coming to T.J. Dillashaw. Lineker is most known for his striking power and ability to change fights in an instant, but he does have just one knockout in five of his last six victories, so there’s more to his game than that. Lineker has shown recently that he’s more than just a striker and can win fights by wrestling and grappling, as he has great cardio and did produce a submission victory over Francisco Rivera a couple of years ago. This will be Lineker’s fourth fight in Las Vegas.
This is easily one of the better fights on the card, as Lineker is always a threat to end things at any moment and may be due for a flashy knockout after so many decisions as of late. However, Rivera is a smart fighter who can hole his own anywhere on the canvas and doesn’t put himself in danger often. You don’t win 20 straight fights being careless or reckless. Rivera is also the slightly bigger fighter who lands with more accuracy in his strikes and would have the advantage as well if this were to go to the canvas. You can never just write off Lineker, but Rivera has done nothing but win over the years and is one of those fighters who is hard to bet against until he actually gives you a reason to bet against him.
I’m siding with Rivera here.