There will be plenty of bantamweight intrigue at UFC 207 on Friday night.
In the co-main event, reigning 135-pound king Dominick Cruz will defend his crown against up-and-coming rival Cody Garbrandt. Also on the main card, ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw will square off against John Lineker in a pivotal matchup. Dillashaw’s only loss since 2014 was a narrow split-verdict to Cruz in a bantamweight title clash in January. Lineker, meanwhile, has won six straight bouts, although making weight continues to be an issue for the Brazilian — even at 135 pounds.
Despite that positive momentum, UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby isn’t willing to guarantee that the Dillashaw-Lineker winner will be next in line for a bantamweight title shot.
“The great thing about the bantamweight division right now, it’s on fire,” Shelby said in an interview on "The Watch List.”
“I don’t think there’s another division with more contenders. We’ll see what we get out of this fight. On paper, regardless of title contendership, it’s straight fire. It’s all offense.”
Shelby acknowledged that the division features several other worthy contenders outside of Dillashaw and Lineker.
“[Jimmie] Rivera has been outstanding; you got [Bryan] Caraway who is still up there in the top-six – you got [John] Dodson,” Shelby said. “There’s so many guys, and there’s guys coming up breaking into the top 10. I’m so happy with the division right now.”
UFC 207 (current odds) takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday and is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title tilt between Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. The pay-per-view card begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.