MANILA -- For Stephen "The Sniper" Loman, now is the perfect time to fight John Lineker -- two years after they were originally supposed to face off.
Loman was set to battle against the man known as "Hands of Stone" in 2021, in what would have been a massive opportunity for the Filipino. But the fight was called off after Loman tested positive for COVID-19.
Two years later, the two top contenders of the bantamweight MMA division will meet at ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium this September 30.
"Back then, I believe it wasn't really the time for us. Now I believe [it's] the perfect time and fans should expect me to do my best," said Loman, who is the second-ranked fighter in the division.
"Supposedly they were supposed to face in Stephen's debut, but I believe it's a better fight now because fans have already seen what Stephen brings to the table with his string of wins," said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao.
"This is the best time that they face each other."
Loman believes that the postponement of the bout is a blessing in disguise, as it gave him more time to study Lineker. He also established himself as a threat in the division, fighting and beating three contenders in Yusup Saadulaev, Shoko Sato, and former ONE Bantamweight MMA World Champion Bibiano Fernandes.
A win against Lineker will boost his chances of earning a shot against reigning champion Fabricio Andrade.
"I believe I'm a whole lot better now. I defeated three veteran fighters in that span and it gave me more experience," he said. "I believe I'm also the hungrier fighter. Each time I'm in there, I want to prove that I'm the best and show various ways of winning."
"Back then I was working on my weaknesses. I'm [now] focused on fixing everything, but now I believe that I'm a more complete fighter," Loman also said. "I can strike, I can wrestle and grapple on the ground. Now I'm focused on how to further utilize my tools in all areas of the game and execute my game plan."