John Lineker was scheduled to fight Jimmie Rivera at Saturday’s UFC 219 in Las Vegas, but a tooth infection forced “Hands of Stone” to withdraw from the anticipated bantamweight bout. The Brazilian, who had already touched down in “Sin City” for the event, had to go through a litany of medical examinations before the promotion decided to take him off the card.
In an exclusive interview with AG. Fight, Jacklyne Andrioli, Lineker’s wife, explained that the bantamweight contender first experienced problems three weeks before he was scheduled to take off for Vegas but decided to keep on training, which worsened the symptoms.
“He went to Las Vegas anyway […], but he had to go through the UFC’s doctors, through the UFC’s dentists, who are pretty strict”, Andrioli said. “Then, the examinations were made and this infection was diagnosed at the roots of a wisdom tooth. At that point, they gave him stronger medications and took him out of the fight. He’s very sad about it. We returned to Brazil today [Wednesday, December 27] in the morning and we went straight to a doctor in Curitiba, where they cleaned the infection.”
Despite having to have emergency surgery performed on him, Lineker hopes to be able to resume training in around 20 days. Andrioli explained that her husband will need to rest completely for three days and maintain a strict diet because of the surgery. She also revealed that in case he doesn’t follow the medical recommendations, he may end up suffering another infection.
“Now he is going to stay for three days in absolute rest”, Andrioli said. “He must stay on a liquid diet for a while until the stitches are removed on January 8th. Until then, he’ll have to be very careful because the doctor told me that the infection can return very easily. But it’s going to go well, and he should be able to return to practice in 15 to 20 days.”
Lineker was last seen in the Octagon in October at UFC Sao Paulo. Coming back from an extended injury layoff, the Brazilian defeated Marlon Vera by unanimous decision. Jimmie Rivera, who was originally supposed to fight Dominick Cruz at UFC 219, was scratched from the event altogether after multiple potential replacement opponents fell through.