UFC 257: Hooker vs Chandler Keys to Victory

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Hooker vs Chandler

The matchup we’ve been waiting for, Hooker vs Chandler! At long last, UFC newcomer Michael Chandler is set to take the cage and make his UFC debut. Across the octagon, there will be a serious challenge in Dan Hooker, 30 years-old, hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. Known for his toughness and willingness to brawl, Hooker is a tough out for anyone. Will Michael Chandler impress? or will “The Hangman” Dan Hooker lynch the Bellator crossover?

Hooker vs Chandler: An Intriguing Match

Dan Hooker

Fighting out of City Kickboxing, led by one of MMA’s top coaches; Eugene Bareman, “The Hangman” is definitely coming from a great camp. Making his professional MMA debut in 2009, Hooker is a young veteran. Fighting primarily in New Zealand, he amassed a 10-4 MMA record, 9-1-3 Pro Kickboxing record, and went 3-2 on the Pro grappling scene before joining The Ultimate Fighter.

”The Hangman” wouldn’t make his UFC debut until 2014, where he beat Ian Entwistle at UFC Fight Night 43 via TKO. Starting a journey that eventually gave us Hooker vs Chandler. Along his way, Dan Hooker proved his mettle and collected the scalps of names such as Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, James Vick, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder. Most recently, we saw him take part in the fight of the year contender that was Poirier vs Hooker. Almost finishing Poirier several times, “The Diamond” hung tough and was able to beat Dan Hooker by decision. Hooker vs Chandler

Michael Chandler

Holding one of Bellator’s most illustrious resumes as a 3x Lightweight Champ, and Season 4 Lightweight Tournament Winner, Michael Chandler is a man that loves a challenge. Crossing over to the UFC, fans were more than eager to see his debut.

First, talks of a fight against Tony Ferguson or Dustin Poirier swarmed the press. Serving as a backup for the Khabib and Gaethje fight, and coming off a 9-month training camp, Michael Chandler turned down the fights. Then, we all know what happened. Poirier was scheduled to fight Mcgregor, and Ferguson fought Charles Oliveira at UFC 256. So, somewhere down the line Hooker vs Chandler was made, and we now have this amazing co-main event to enjoy.

The Matchup and Keys to Victory

Dan Hooker

First and foremost, Dan Hooker will have a lot of length advantage over Michael Chandler. “The Hangman” is a very lanky, tactical striker. Not afraid to brawl, with the toughness to handle it. He’s not going to want to get up close and brawl this fight though, In my opinion. The first key for the Hooker vs Chandler fight is to stay on the outside. A shorter man, Chandler will undoubtedly be looking to get into the pocket with “The Hangman” and maybe work the body (as Poirier showed worked well against Hooker) and look for a takedown.

This leads me to another key, utilize footwork to control the range. Hooker will want to circle effectively this fight, control the tempo, and not let this one become a war. Michael’s best chance to win the Hooker vs Chandler fight is by getting in there, getting in Dan’s face, and making this a sloppy war. Working the body, the takedowns, the whole nine. On the other side of the spectrum though, “The Hangman” will want to keep on the outside and pick Chandler apart.

Michael Chandler

While already hinting at his keys to victory, it goes without saying. The first key is to get inside the pocket. Chandler will want to get in Hooker’s face as to negate that reach advantage. This is where Hooker’s opponents usually find some good level of success, close up on the inside. While Hooker is tough, Chandler can really do some damage from the inside and potentially put him away.

The next key, utilize the grappling. Coming from an impressive D-1 wrestling background, it’s no secret Michael Chandler can grapple. While Dan is no slouch, this Hooker vs Chandler fight could easily be finished on the ground, or by points resulting from takedowns and control time. A popular theory circulating right now is that if “The Hangman” finds himself on the ground, with Chandler on top, that it could be extremely hard to get up. While this remains to be seen, I’m curious to see whether or not Michael’s grappling will be a problem for Hooker.

So, there you have it, folks! The Hooker vs Chandler fight is very anticipated, and it’s been a pleasure breaking it all down! As for my prediction, let’s go with Michael Chandler by decision. As this is a three-round fight, I believe Chandler sets a big pace and utilizes a mixture of in the pocket striking and chain grappling to squeeze the decision. I think this will be a hell of a fight though, and I can’t wait!


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