To say that Stephen "The Sniper" Loman is paying close attention to the fight between reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes and John "Hands of Stone" Lineker is a massive understatement.
"For sure, Bibiano knows that Lineker packs power in those punches. I expect him to come up with a gameplan to take the match to the ground. I think there’s a huge possibility that he can submit Lineker," Loman said.
"On the flipside, the key to Lineker is finding his distance and striking at the right time. If he can find his range, and pick his shots from a distance, there’s also a chance that he knocks out Bibiano. He’s a veteran in the game as well. I guess we’ll see what gives."
Loman, after making that supernova leap in the contender's list, should no longer be considered as a newcomer in ONE Championship, and instead, should be treated with more respect as he primes himself for a potential future title shot.
The 30-year-old certainly proved that he belongs inside the Circle with his impressive promotional debut at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II last December, clobbering and eventually knocking Yusup "Maestro" Saadulaev out in the first round to not just emphatically announce his arrival but also take the Russian's spot in the division rankings.
It's a humbling achievement on his part, but it also gave a glimpse to the fans that the Igorot warrior was indeed for real. And Loman understands with that memorable win, he has set the standard for himself to continue knocking down the hurdles thrown his way.
"I feel happy and proud that I was able to crack the rankings and join the elite names in the division," Loman said.
"But more than that, it motivated me to work even harder cause I know that I’m close to the top, I could be fighting for the title soon, so I have to maintain my focus even more and be ready."
Nevertheless, Loman is confident that the fans have seen nothing yet and he's driven to sharpen his toolset for that next fight.
"I was happy to be able to bring that confidence, having that champion’s mentality in my debut in ONE Championship. I have won championships in other organizations, and that’s one thing that I bring here. I’m also happy that all of the hard work in training showed off," Loman said.
Who knows, that title shot may come sooner rather than later. That's why Loman will certainly be a curious observer once Fernandes and Lineker finally lock horns.
And in his book? He's audacious enough to give his fearless forecast and favor the longtime champion to still find a way to have his hands raised at the end of the night.
"If I have to pick between them, I’ll stick with Bibiano," Loman said.
"I think his grappling will be superior. We also saw in his past fights that he has a complete skillset. He can strike, and we all know how good he is at jiu jitsu. If Bibiano gets his rhythm early in the match, he’ll submit Lineker."