john-lineker-4.jpgRIO DE JANEIRO – A great start for Jose Maria turned into a somewhat bizarre finish, as a strong first round gave way to second round collapse and TKO finish at the hands of John Lineker.

The bout, a 129-pound catchweight fight after Lineker came in heavy for the bout, took place today at UFC 163 at Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena. It aired as part of the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FX and Facebook.

Early on, it seemed that Maria was in total control. A spinning backfist in the first frame caught Lineker flush, and Maria’s follow up attacks kept his opponent on wobbly legs for much of the round.

But in the first minute of the second, Maria’s knee seemed to buckle during one punching exchange. He crumpled to the mat right away, and Maria followed with a barrage of strikes that forced the stoppage at the 1:03 mark of Round 2.

When asked about the strange ending, Lineker said he didn’t notice the apparent injury, and instead, “I just felt my punch had connected.”

“I was dizzy in the first round, but I managed to recover and go for it,” Lineker said. “I must say it’s always a bit upsetting facing a fellow Brazilian. He also went through a lot in his life and taking this away from a countryman is a bit sad.”

Lineker (22-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has now won three straight after losing his UFC debut. Maria (33-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC), meanwhile, loses for the first time since 2008.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 163 results include:

For more on UFC 163, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Rio de Janeiro.

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