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UFC 219 live stream, date and start time, UFC 219 Cyborg vs. Holm Fight

UFC 219 has a tough act to follow in Saturday night’s UFC 218 Still, the event headlined by the women’s featherweight title fight between Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm might just be able to pull it off.

The full card currently stands as follows:

Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barboza
Jimmie Rivera vs. John Lineker
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
Dan Hooker vs. Marc Diakiese
Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Weber Meek
Louis Smolka vs. Matheus Nicolau
Myles Jury vs. Rick Glenn
Marvin Vettori vs. Omari Akhmedov
Khalil Rountree vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk

Bout order is yet to be confirmed, but in all likelihood, that listing will likely hold up when the card goes down on December 30. With just a few weeks before the event, it’s worth examining the top five fights on the card and discussing the X’s, the O’s and the storylines therein.

Jimmie Rivera vs. John Lineker

Division: Bantamweight
Records: Jimmie Rivera (21-1), John Lineker (30-8)

Somebody always gets burned when a UFC champion takes his belt to another division. Frankie Edgar got left behind by Conor McGregor’s rivalry with Nate Diaz. Robert Whittaker has been twiddling his thumbs with former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre taking over the middleweight division. On and on…

With newly minted bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw looking to take his belt down to the flyweight division for a match with Demetrious Johnson, Jimmie Rivera is lined up to be the man left behind at 135 pounds.

On paper, Rivera should already be lined up for a title fight. 5-0 in the UFC (21-1 in his career), he has defeated all comers, including respected names like Iuri Alcantara, Thomas Almeida and Urijah Faber. He has experienced little resistance en route to those marks and, by all measurements, should be a real threat to take the strap. With former champion Dominick Cruz out of the picture for the foreseeable future due to a broken arm, Rivera is the only logical candidate for a bantamweight title shot.

Alas, he is instead running on a high-speed treadmill and will have to defeat a dangerous John Lineker in order to avoid being dragged to the back of the line.

That’s a tall order for Rivera. Lineker is beloved in MMA circles due to his relentless, high-octane offense built around savage punches to the body. That style is as effective as it is entertaining, too, translating into an 11-3 record in the UFC (5-1 in the bantamweight division).

Rivera is capable of wrangling him and taking this one on the scorecards. It’s a shame he is being forced to walk that tightrope at all, though.

Prediction: Jimmie Rivera def. John Lineker by unanimous decision