John Lineker to Make Muay Thai Debut Opposite Liam Harrison at ONE Fight Night 18

Published 11/21/2023, 2:20 AM EST

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A blockbuster pairing between two heavy hitters is scheduled for ONE Championship’s first U.S. primetime show of 2024. At ONE Fight Night 18, which is set for January 12, former bantamweight MMA king John Lineker will face English striking icon Liam Harrison.

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This will be Harrison’s first-ever Muay Thai contest, with the event going down inside the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. Lineker has punished his opponents with his “Hands of Stone” to amass 18 career knockouts and earn his place among the most elite strikers in MMA. 

John Lineker has been a dominant force

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He joined the world’s largest martial arts organization in 2019 and finished two of his first three opponents to earn a shot at then-bantamweight MMA titleholder Bibiano Fernandes. The Brazilian pair squared off at ONE: LIGHTS OUT in March 2022, and Lineker claimed his first World Title via a second-round knockout. 

While he later lost the belt on the scales before his first defense against current World Champion Fabricio Andrade, he has worked his way back to challenging “Wonder Boy’s” reign by winning his last two bouts against stalwart opponents Kim Jae Woong and Stephen Loman. 

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Before he steps in for another shot at the divisional gold, Lineker will attempt to do what Andrade couldn’t – succeed in his first all-striking match in ONE Championship. Though there won’t be gold on the line this time, as there was for the bantamweight MMA king at ONE Fight Night 16 earlier this month, “Hands of Stone’s” entry into Muay Thai against Harrison will be no walk in the park.

A veteran of over 100 fights, “Hitman” is a ruthless striker with a similar never-say-die attitude to Lineker’s that was on full display when he took on Muangthai PK Saenchai at ONE 156 – a battle that would later win ONE’s 2022 Muay Thai Fight of the Year award. The Bad Company representative has been eager to return to action after a lengthy absence due to an injury he sustained at the hands of former bantamweight Muay Thai king Nong-O Hama at ONE on Prime Video 1 in August last year.

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ONE has teased the fight for a while now

ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong earlier teased that the pair could figure in a special-rules striking contest, similar to Xiong Jing Nan and Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak’s bout at ONE Fight Night 14 this past September. However, it appears that Lineker is confident enough in his skills to meet Harrison under ONE’s Muay Thai rules set. 

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Both men have made names for themselves for their destructive power, so fans can expect this match to end before the final bell. Watch out for more announcements in the coming weeks as ONE looks to fill its first event of 2024 to the brim with exciting action. 

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Written by:

Prit Chauhan

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I'm Prit Chauhan, and I'm a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. I've been in the writing business for three years, covering areas like mass media marketing, and even tried my hand at fiction. My experience includes research work at the University of California, Berkeley, which helps me spin fact-based stories about the world of Mixed Martial Arts effortlessly.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das

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