The final non-title fight of the UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey pay-per-view main card was a big one in the bantamweight division. Former champion T.J. Dillashaw and the heavy-fisted John Lineker were set to scrap for a possible title shot against the winner of the night’s co-main event between Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt. Fireworks were expected between these two exciting strikers.
Dillashaw wasted no time throwing a head kick that whizzed over the head of the Brazilian. He did throw another head kick that landed on Lineker, but John caught it and briefly had Dillashaw on his back, then complained he got hit while he was downed. The fight returned to its feet shortly thereafter. Dillashaw beautifully timed a takedown on Lineker into half-guard. TJ postured up and got in a couple of ground strikes, all whilst trying to prevent Lineker from scrambling back up. Lineker did get to his feet with a little over 90 seconds left in the 1st frame. Dillashaw threw a good leg kick but ate a left hook to the body for his troubles. Lineker searched for Dillashaw’s chin with the left hook, but TJ just avoided getting his cleanly as he tripled up on the punches. Lineker and Dillashaw both got the crowd into it in the closing seconds of the round.
Dillashaw hit Lineker with another takedown, then tried to take his back in a scramble but Lineker escaped and returned to his feet, throwing and missing with a right hand. Lineker couldn’t defend the takedown effectively, and after eating a big body kick, Dillashaw got him down with the same maneuver as he did to start the 2nd. Lineker got beaten up with several hard elbows. He rolled for a kneebar but exposed his face to more punches, and Dillashaw continued the beatdown. Any time Lineker had the space to try and get back to his feet, Dillashaw was on his case and smashing him with elbows and punches.
Round 3 had another early takedown from the former champion, as Lineker threw his legs up for a triangle that he was never ever going to get. Even when Lineker goaded Dillashaw into striking exchanges, TJ was winning them. Lineker flung forward with a wild right hand and Dillashaw ducked under and took him down once more, pounding him with ground-and-pound to the head. Dillashaw went for a calf slicer on Lineker but couldn’t finish that rare submission move, and they went back to their feet. Lineker ripped Dillashaw to the body, which caught TJ’s attention, but then he threw a flying knee and a head kick. A discouraged Lineker threw what he could, but it was a blowout win for Dillashaw.
Official result: T.J. Dillashaw def. John Lineker via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)