John Lineker dos Santos de Paula (aka “Hands of Stone”) was born June 12th 1990 in Paraná, Brazil, and is a Brazilian mixed martial artist currently signed to ONE Championship.
With a record of 35-9, the 32 year-old recently added the ONE Bantamweight World Champion title to his accomplishments on March 11th, 2022 after dethroning Bibiano Fernandes with some shocking ground and pound.
He is also the former Jungle Fight Bantamweight Champion and Nitrix Fights 2011 Bantamweight Grand Prix Champion. John Lineker is currently ranked no.1 in the ONE Championship bantamweight rankings and no.14 in the featherweights.
Lineker started off his professional MMA career by fighting in the Brazilian regional circuits namely – Samurai FC, Shooto Americas, and Jungle Fight and earned his brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Ocimar Costa.
Fighting out of team Emporium, John Lineker made his professional MMA debut in 2008. Initially, he fought in the lightweight and featherweight divisions but gradually found his natural weight class in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions where he mounted an undefeated streak of 13 wins.
Lineker achieved nearly half of his victories in professional MMA matches via knockout, a testament to his tremendous punching power, hence the nickname “Hands of Stone” in addition to the intense fighting spirit he brings wherever he happens to compete.
The UFC found their gem in John Lineker after his impressive, and blistering performances in the years 2010 and 2011. He was signed by them in December 2011 to compete in their newly designed UFC flyweight division.
The flyweight division featured 125-pound category fights coming in early 2012 in the form of a four-man tournament to determine the division’s first champion.
Lineker missed his weight by a whisker but was allowed to make his UFC debut against Louis Gaudinot at UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller on May 5 2012, at the catchweight of 127lb.
The explosive, action-packed contest did not go in the favor of the Brazilian but he impressed the judges with both fighters earning Fight of the Night honors for their performances.
The Brazilian made his ONE Championship debut on October 26, 2019, against Muin Gafurov winning the hard-hitting bout via unanimous decision. The UFC veteran is a firm fan favorite and has been consistently ranked in the top 10 worldwide in multiple publications.
It will be very interesting to see how the ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Lineker, will respond to the challenge posed by the “Wonder Boy” Fabricio Andrade who believes his fighting IQ is unmatchable!
So without any further ado let’s get ready for the “Hands of Stone” John Lineker’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Phil Harris – UFC Fight Night 30 (Oct. 26, 2013)
After being signed by the UFC in 2011, John won 4 matches back-to-back before heading into this one against “Billy” Phil Harris.
In round 1 at 1:30, Lineker sneaks up with a ferocious uppercut and follows it up with a hook as Harris falls to the mat.
Another wild, beastly attack by Lineker at 2:44 into the round sees Harris caught completely off guard. Lineker swung hard all over Harris who finally collapsed to the canvas.
Lineker continued his assault as referee Neil Hall (who sadly passed away from the coronavirus last year) hurriedly interfered to separate the two at 2:51 of round 1 with John Lineker winning the match via KO (Punches).
This match is ranked the no.92 Best MMA Knockout of the Year for 2013.
4. Vs. Troy Worthen – ONE on TNT 3 (April 21, 2021)
This was scary stuff from Lineker, he just launched himself into his opponent from the moment the bell rang!
Troy backed down for shelter from the roaring assault in the opening moments of round 1.
John’s leather-covered fists bombarded Troy with rapid pace, who was swiftly becoming dazed.
At 30 seconds in, John caught a kick from Worthen, and attacked him with an inside kick, raining massive, hard-hitting jabs to his abdomen.
John made it look simple, as he smashed Worthen’s ribs with fiery jabs, as the “Hands of Stone” really began to fly.
Then, at 1.45, John raced up to his opponent with intense upper cuts and hooks.
John then caught Troy off-guard and with a fierce right-hand that knocks him down to the canvas as referee Mohamad Sulaiman gets in between the combatants to restrict any further damage to Troy at 4:35.
John Lineker won the match via a KO counter right punch.
3. Vs. Kevin Belingon – ONE: Inside the Matrix 3 (Nov. 13, 2020)
John’s Hands of Stone sang the symphony of a thunderous ordeal here designed to annoy and harass, with anyone standing in his way very likely to perish!
At 1:50 into round 1, Lineker mows his opponent down into the cage with a huge right hand. He followed up with a full throttle attack on Belingon, punches swinging with sheer brute force trapped in his clenched fists.
To his credit, Belingon tried to fight back, but John ducked his swinging back hand and proceeded to heavily batter him with hard-hitting, rock-like jabs to his face at 3:50 into round 1.
In round 2, Belingon was seriously hurt by a right hand that landed straight on his nose at 1:10, crumbling him down like a building detonated with TNT.
Lineker poured forth more heavy, short arm jabs before referee Justin Brown, got into the mix to save Belingon from the compulsive, and merciless assault by John.
John Lineker won the main event of this featherweight bout via KO punches at 1:17 into round 2.
2. Vs. Muin Gafurov – ONE: Dawn of Valor (Oct. 26, 2019)
John Lineker here made his debut at ONE in this heated fight against Muin “Tajik” Gafurov
John started making splashes with a hard-hitting hook at 1:28 into round 1.
Soon after, Muin went in with a flying superman punch whilst John dodged sideways, recoiling with high-powered pack hooks.
“Tajik” then invaded Lineker with a combination of hooks and jabs to his face and body.
The crowd by now was whistling, clapping, and went bonkers as Lineker and Muin swung wildly at each other at 2:30, making for a bonanza of sheer MMA entertainment.
At 2:50, Lineker threw a harsh kick on Muin’s thigh and proceeded to jump all over him with a fully-fledged assault consisting of hard-hitting knees, and hooks while traversing in a semi-circle across the cage.
In the initial moments of round 2, a Guillotine choke by Lineker looked secure but Muin turned the tables by fighting back with lethal steel elbows straight to John’s nose and face.
Lineker got back to his feet, regrouped and attacked with renewed vigor to finish the bout on a high note.
John Lineker ultimately won the match via unanimous decision. This match is ranked as the no.96 Best MMA Fight of All Time.
1. Vs. Bibiano Fernandes – ONE: Lights Out (Mar. 11, 2022)
Ranked the no.1 Bantamweight fighter outside of the UFC and no.5 in the world by MMA Weekly, Bibiano Fernandes from Brazil was up against the “Hands of Stone”, and Lineker would need to be on his A game to win this battle of titans!
At 0.50 into round 1, the champion Fernandes rushes in for a takedown attempt.
At 2:48, with fists clasped, stony sparks flew as John ripped Fernandes apart with a deadly combination, sending shockwaves through Fernandes’ soul. Now the match officially entered the cruelty and hostility phase.
An orchestra of hooks and jabs now set the cadence and at 3:07, the “Hands of Stone” clobbered Bibiano with a massive punch, stunning the champ.
Lineker continued the assault with ruthless striking, consisting of pointed elbows just above Bibiano’s eyes, whilst brutalizing his face with merciless jabs, and hammer fists by the closing minute of round 1.
In round 2, Lineker continued to dominate, delivering a knockout punch that sent his opponent collapsing to the floor as the referee checked in on the critical condition of Fernandes, at 3:40 of round 2.
This match is ranked as no.79 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2022, and no.22 Best MMA Knockout of the Year for 2022.
Lineker also won a “Performance of the Night” bonus of $50,000.
“Bibiano will forever be a champion,” Lineker said in his post-fight interview. “A tough guy, he caught me on the chin, I believed in my potential, believed in my hands – “hands of stone” and had this beautiful victory.”