UFC 257: Hooker vs Chandler Preview & Prediction

UFC 257: Hooker vs Chandler Preview & Prediction

By Cathal Geeney

The co-main event is another exciting lightweight bout which sees promotional newcomer, Michael Chandler, debut against Dan Hooker.

A dominant victory for either fighter could have big implications on the lightweight division given that there may well be a vacant belt up for grabs in the coming months with the ongoing Khabib Nurmagomedov situation likely to be resolved soon after the dust has settled on UFC 257.

This is a tough match up for Chandler as he is going against a rangy, southpaw striker who will enjoy a four-inch height and reach advantage. The former Bellator lightweight champion will need to effectively close the distance without getting caught.

To achieve this, Chandler will aim to stay light on his feet, throw plenty of feints and mix his attacks to the head, body and legs to keep Hooker guessing. The Missouri native will need to mix in his takedown attempts with his striking. If the American can manage to land a takedown, he can rely on his NCAA Division 1 wrestling experience to make Hooker pay.

Dan Hooker will expect to utilise his reach to control the range and fight long. The New Zealander mixes his attacks fluently looking to land big hooks up top while constantly attacking the legs with kicks. He also looks to land knees in the clinch.

This is something Chandler will have to be very wary of if he enters for a takedown. A counter knee could turn off the lights. Hooker possesses power in his fists too, with ten of his twenty career victories coming by knockout.

Interestingly, he holds a first-round knockout over Gilbert Burns, who will challenge for the UFC Welterweight belt next month. The power of Hooker will be of concern for Chandler, who was stopped in the first round by current Bellator featherweight Champion Patricio Freire just over a year and a half ago.

Prediction:

I believe Hooker has the edge in terms of striking and so Chandler will need to force the action and work his wrestling into this matchup if he is to be successful. This should suit the New Zealander and so I am taking Hooker for this one. I can see Chandler getting stunned as he looks to get close and Hooker then getting the finish. #UFC257

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