Team Lakay coach says Stephen Loman is ready to challenge John Lineker 

Published March 31, 2022, 8:38 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

John Lineker and Stephen Loman (ONE Championship and Stephen Loman’s Facebook page)

When it comes to Stephen Loman’s potential next assignment, Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao oozes with confidence. 

The Filipino power hitter has only competed twice in ONE Championship, but that’s not stopping Sangiao from making a bold statement – “The Sniper” has what it takes to dethrone ONE Bantamweight World Champion John Lineker right now. 

“Stephen has been ready for Lineker since last year,” the coach said.   

The soft-spoken mentor added that #3-ranked Loman – fresh off beating Japanese veteran Shoko Sato at ONE X last Saturday – has long been preparing for the divisional king. 

They were previously scheduled to battle in April 2021, but the Filipino pulled out because of Covid-19. 

The Brazilian then knocked out Bibiano Fernandes to snatch the belt, while “The Sniper” picked up wins over Sato and former #3-ranked contender Yusup Saadulaev.  

“Remember they were already set to face each other, but unfortunately Stephen got Covid,” Sangiao said. 

“Knowing Stephen, with how hard he works, I know he’s ready for Lineker.”    

While some doubters might argue that Loman is still relatively new to ONE Championship, he’s one of the most seasoned competitors at the famed Team Lakay . 

Before signing with ONE, he was dominating the Middle Eastern MMA scene, becoming the longest-reigning champion in Brave Combat Federation.   

And following his latest performance against Sato, “The Sniper” has now won 10 straight fights, with his last defeat coming in January 2016.    

Given that impressive run, his coach’s confidence is certainly warranted.  

“He’s someone who’s been on a long winning streak and someone who has a very technical approach with how he fights,” Sangiao said.    

“If you watched his last fight, it just so happened that they were both counter-punchers. That’s why there wasn’t much engagement, but I feel like he’s truly prepared for Lineker.”    

It’s still unclear whether Loman will get the next crack at the ONE Bantamweight World Title, but if he doesn’t, some names he could target are recently dethroned champion Fernandes, #2-ranked contender Kwon Won Il, and #4 ranked Fabricio Andrade.   

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