Exclusive: Brian Kelleher Talks UFC 224 Fight With Lineker, Controversial Merab Dvalishvili Finish


Brian Kelleher's profile was significantly increased in February after a one-sided beatdown of former UFC Champion Renan Barao, and he'll look to improve on that at UFC 224 against John Lineker.

Kelleher is facing a tall task in the hard hitting Lineker, but told Fightful.com's James Lynch in a recent interview that he's already looking to compete on the August 4 pay-per-view card headlined by TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt to better position himself for a title shot.

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"Lineker's obviously dangerous with his power punching and comes forward. I'm well aware of that, I've done a lot of specific work with my brother on that. I'm not going to fight him scared like a lot of other people. I'm going to use my angles and mix up my game. I'm really looking at (Marlon Moraes vs. Jimmy Rivera), because I want to know who's going to be ready in August-area. Those guys are fighting June 1st, so maybe they'll be able to bounce back and fight August 4. That's my vision. I'd like to fight on that card with Cody (Garbrandt) and TJ (Dillashaw). We'll have a solid bantamweight situation going on there. There aren't many guys open in the division, and Aljo (Sterling), just called out Dominick Cruz," said Kelleher.

Also in the bantamweight division, Merab Dvalishvili recently faced a controversial call in a fight with Ricky Simon. When Lynch asked about the fight, Kelleher revealed that he'd actually trained with Merab ahead of the fight. 

"I was a little bit biased, I was on his side there. It was frustrating to see. I felt like he was moving his legs, because he was trying to show he was alive, good, not out. He looked like he was catching his breath like he may have been out, but the referee never signaled the fight was over. The doctors made it worse, they were like 'stay down.' He went to get up a little, but they told him to lay down, and it looked like he was a little more out of it," said Kelleher.

In the full interview with James Lynch, Brian Kelleher (19-8) discusses his upcoming fight against John Lineker (30-8) at UFC 224 on May 12

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