Dan Hooker
The Hangman

New Zealand

Drops all-time classic in Vegas
LightweightUFC
June 27, 2020
Hooker lost to Dustin Poirier via unanimous decision (47-48, 47-48, 46-48) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It was an all-time classic and one that will significantly raise the stock of both men. Hooker started quickly. He made a conscious effort to go to the body and was arguably the more effective fighter over the course of the first ten minutes. Both men unleashed vicious combinations on the other, and both men somehow survived. When the clock hit Round 3, Hooker began to fade a bit. He held his own in the third frame before Poirier began to pull away in Rounds 4 and 5. Hooker did land a few well-timed takedowns, but was so tired he could do nothing with his positional advantage. Hooker also displayed excellent submission defense, as there appeared to be upwards of a half dozen occasions that Poirier had him close to tapping out. Hooker isn't going to be happy with the result, but he fought well and will take home a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. 99.9 percent of the fighters on the roster would have been done in the first two rounds with the heavy artillery Hooker threw Poirier's way. The Kiwi is undoubtedly one of the most talented lightweight fighters in the world.
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Enters week as underdog
LightweightUFC
June 22, 2020
Hooker enters the week as a (+180) betting underdog for his lightweight matchup against Dustin Poirier at UFC on ESPN 12 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
This is a matchup originally finalized in late-May that was once rumored to take place on Fight Island, but it looks as if Hooker has been able to take care of any travel restrictions put in place that could prevent him from making the trip to Vegas. Hooker put the lightweight division on notice when he emerged victorious in a five-round war against Paul Felder in February, bringing his winning streak to three. Hooker also currently has an impressive victory against Gilbert Burns on his resume, especially considering Burns will be fighting for the welterweight title next month. Hooker will take on a fighter in Poirier who dropped his most recent fight to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in September, but had previously compiled a four-fight winning streak with three stoppages and four post-fight bonuses. While Hooker owns a solid striking volume mark of 4.76 significant strikes landed per minute, Poirier posts a slightly higher one of 5.51. Poirier also has better striking defense, and takedown volume indicates Poirier is more comfortable using his wrestling if need be. On the other hand, Hooker is a year younger than Poirier and will also enter with three-inch advantages in both height and reach.
Potential fight date set versus Poirier
LightweightUFC
May 23, 2020
Hooker is tentatively scheduled to square off against Dustin Poirier in a lightweight matchup on the UFC's June 27 card, Mike Bohn of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Per the report, Hooker's fight versus Poirier would likely be held at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, pending the travel restrictions from New Zealand being lifted to allow Hooker to make the trip to the United States. If that doesn't come to fruition, the contest would potentially be moved to the UFC's "Fight Island" event in July. Hooker will own height and reach advantages of three inches against Poirier, and while Hooker has put together a solid resume of late, Poirier has been fighting elite lightweights and featherweights for the entirety of a UFC/WEC career dating back to 2010. Poirier also has statistical edges in striking volume, striking defense and offensive wrestling, though Hooker does sport a superior takedown defense rate. Sportsbooks jumped on this exciting matchup shortly after its announcement, lining up Hooker as roughly a (+140) betting underdog.
San Diego card called off
LightweightUFC
April 2, 2020
Hookier will no longer face Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC San Diego on May 16, as the California State Athletic Commission has cancelled all combat sports events until June due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marc Raimondi of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Hooker picked up his third consecutive victory against Paul Felder in February, narrowly getting the nod via split decision in a Fight of the Year contender. That was going to be enough to propel him to another main event spot against the company's No. 2 lightweight contender, but that event will no longer come to pass -- at least in the state of California. Hookier had been a (+140) betting underdog for the matchup at the time of cancellation, and it remains to be seen what the UFC intends to do with this proposed bout moving forward.
Goes to war, comes home victorious
LightweightUFC
February 22, 2020
Hooker defeated Paul Felder via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) at UFC Fight Night 168 in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
It looked like Hooker was cruising through the first 12 minutes of this fight, establishing his range beautifully and countering Felder's attacks. The New Zealand native began to visibly fade as a result of Felder's pressure soon after, however, which resulted in him having to take a lot of punishment over the last two rounds. Hooker used his grappling to stem the tide, but it's clear the best moments down the stretch were for Felder. Regardless, the judges saw it the way of the hometown boy, giving him his third consecutive victory. The back-and-forth affair also earned each fighter $50,000 for Fight of the Night honors. Hooker called out Justin Gaethje after the performance and while his athleticism and reach would be big weapons against "The Highlight," it's worth asking how he would deal with the pressure down the stretch. In any case, it seems as though lightweight isn't going to get any less interesting in the near future. Hooker moves to 20-8 in professional MMA as a result of the win.
Enters as hometown favorite
LightweightUFC
February 16, 2020
Hooker enters as approximately a (-145) betting favorite for his lightweight matchup against Paul Felder at UFC Auckland on Feb. 22.
ANALYSIS
Both Hooker and Felder are coming off strong years in 2019, with each picking up a pair of victories. Hooker will get the home-town crowd again for this one, fighting in Auckland for the third time in his career. He'll also have a slight height advantage over Felder, plus a sizable five-inch reach advantage. Neither fighter has been credited with a takedown since 2017, so look for this one to play out primarily on the feet. Hooker has a big edge in volume striking over his UFC run, but he's been more than willing to get hit in order to land, averaging 4.73 significant strikes landed per minute compared to 4.72 significant strikes absorbed. That type of output could be highly desirable for prospective fantasy owners given this will be a five-round fight.