Dan Hooker
The Hangman

New Zealand

Goes to war, comes home victorious
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.
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.
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Enters as hometown favorite
February 16, 2020
Hooker enters as approximately a (-145) betting favorite for his lightweight matchup against Paul Felder at UFC Auckland on Feb. 22.
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.
Gets hometown fight
November 27, 2019
Hooker will face Paul Felder in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand on Feb. 23.
Hooker defeated Al Iaquinta in nearby Australia back in October, his sixth win in his last seven matches. He's set to fight in Auckland for the third time in his UFC career, having been victorious in both previous bouts. In Felder, he'll face an opponent who's ranked just one spot ahead of him in the lightweight rankings (6th).
Dominates Al Iaquinta at UFC 243
October 5, 2019
Hooker defeated Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) at UFC 243 on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.
Iaquinta is a quality, quality opponent, and Hooker made him look like nothing more than roster depth. Armed with a size, length, and power advantage, Hooker stood at distance and picked Iaquinta apart with strikes. When his opponent did try to close the space between the two, Hooker shrugged him off and controlled the ground exchanges between the two men. Hooker was credited with 71 total strikes landed compared to just 71 from Iaquinta. Outside of one poor performance against Edson Barboza last December, Hooker has been untouchable for the better part of the past three years. In his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, Hooker asked for/demanded a 2020 fight against Dustin Poirier. Sounds good to us.
Finds next opponent
August 21, 2019
Hooker is scheduled to fight Al Iaquinta in a lightweight matchup at UFC 243 in New Zealand on October 6.
Hooker will surely be full of confidence, coming off a first-round knockout of James Vick at UFC San Antonio to make it five wins in his last six trips to the cage. The fight solidified himself back in the lightweight rankings, and will be going for his 19th professional win Oct. 6. His opponent got his face and nose broken last time out by Donald Cerrone and will be looking to bounce back after gaining medical clearance to fight in the October bout. Hooker owns slightly better volume striking numbers than "Ragin Al," but tends to absorb more punishment en route to landing his own offense. Both have respectable wrestling game, but this one appears likely to play out on the feet. Hooker -- the younger fighter -- will be two inches taller with a five-inch reach advantage on fight night.
First KO of the night
July 20, 2019
Hooker defeated James Vick via KO (punches) at 2:33 of Round 1 at UFC San Antonio on Saturday.
Hooker and Vick traded calf kicks early in a feeling out process, but it was a beautiful sequence by Hooker that ended the fight. He faked a right hook and came around with a left hand that knocked down the unsuspecting Vick. From there, he pounced a rattled Vick on the ground and finished the job. It's been nearly seven months on the shelf for Hooker, but he likely just catapulted himself right back into the lightweight rankings. At the very least, he'll take home a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts.