UFC Raleigh: Lina Lansberg is Beginning to Justify Her Early Hype
By James Lee
As Lina Lansberg makes the walk at UFC Raleigh this Saturday, she could continue a run that is beginning to justify the initial hype she received before her introduction into the sport’s biggest promotion.
Her promotional debut saw her drafted in to face the aforementioned and dominant Cris Cyborg in the main event of a card in Brasilia.
At the time, the Brazilian was the consensus best female fighter in the world. Years of domination in Strikeforce and Invicta retrospectively had asserted her position in the sport and after a successful UFC debut against Leslie Smith, Lansberg was awarded the chance to try and stop her.
The opportunity was a step too far for her at that point however, as she fell short in the second round due to strikes.
The fight didn’t come bigger than that in female MMA at the time and the impact of the loss seemingly affected her performances afterwards, but now, it seems the Swede is finally beginning to show the talent many saw in her early on.
2019 was a successful year for Lansberg. She went undefeated with two victories close to home.
The first came in Stockholm against former Invicta champion Tonya Evinger, before she followed that up with a win in Copenhagen against the highly-tipped Macy Chiasson.
The Fortis MMA fighter won The Ultimate Fighter featherweight tournament in 2018, before moving up to bantamweight and recording back-to-back finishes.
Many expected Chiasson to go on to have a title run, but Lansberg put an end to that, despite being a significant underdog for the contest.
The former two-time world muay thai champion faces a completely opposing style in North Carolina however, with Sara McMann’s Olympic-level wrestling likely to put Lansberg in a situation she is yet to face so far in her career.
Albeit, Macy Chiasson showed dominant signs with her ground control before she came up against Lansberg. McMann’s Olympic threat should pose a tougher task, but ultimately, Lansberg should excel substantially on the feet.
It has been two years since McMann’s last fight and although Macy Chiasson can perhaps be noted as a tougher opponent, a win over a former title challenger is noteworthy at any point.
Much like many fights, the weekend’s fight poses a must-win for Lansberg. Maybe her biggest chance to get her first UFC finish additionally. Predominantly however, she cannot afford to lose.
That would make for an instrumental step-back if so, but a win should afford her the chance to potentially fight a top ranked fighter next, with title ambitions not so far in the distant future.
Lansberg’s fight is amongst many on a packed preliminary card that begins at 10pm BST on Saturday night. Two fights after Lansberg-McMann will see another notable female contest take place between Justine Kish and the ever-exciting Lucie Pudilova.