ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- The UFC has already named a flyweight No. 1 contender. John Lineker might have made them rethink their decision.
Chris Cariaso will challenge flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 177 on Aug. 30 in Sacramento. But Lineker made a serious bid to be in the title conversation with a knockout of Alptekin Ozkilic at 4:51 of the third round Wednesday at UFC Fight Night here at Revel.
"Dana White, Joe Silva, I want that title," Lineker said afterward through an interpreter.
Lineker (24-7) won the first two rounds, walking through Ozkilic's punches and landing hard shots of his own, to the body and to the head. At the start of the third, Lineker turned it up even more, getting the crowd into it and throwing hard combinations.
Ozkilic took everything "Hands of Stone" threw at him until a left hook floored him with less than 20 seconds to go. Lineker, not one to give up an opportunity, pounced and finished when he was already far ahead on the scorecards.
The Brazilian's biggest issue has been making weight, but he did so Tuesday, hitting 125.5 on the first try. Previously, he had missed the 126-pound maximum three times in six flyweight fights. Lineker is ranked No. 7 in the flyweight contender rankings, but the entire top five has already lost to Johnson and No. 1 John Dodson is out for a year with a torn ACL.
It wouldn't be out of the question to see Lineker earn a title shot as early as 2014. And he's only 24 years old.
Ozkilic (9-3) has now lost his first two UFC fights, the last one coming against Louis Smolka in January. "The Turkish Delight" showed a serious chin and had Lineker's back early in the first round. He also landed almost as many punches throughout the fight, but his weren’t nearly as hard as Lineker's were. That's not a surprise, though, given Lineker is one of the biggest hitters in the division.