Dan Hooker returns at UFC 281 to face Claudio Puelles

Daniel Cunningham
Mar 19, 2022; London, UK; Dan Hooker (blue gloves) before his fight against Arnold Allen during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC has finalized a fun matchup in the lightweight division that will go down in November. ForedwinMMA first reported and it was later confirmed by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-12) will return to the lightweight division to face Claudio Puelles (12-2).

The matchup will take place at UFC 281 on November 12th. Hooker being on the card shouldn’t be a shock considering his City Kickboxing teammate Israel Adesanya is headlining the card. Typically, City Kickboxing has multiple fighters from their gym on the same card.

For Puelles, this is a golden opportunity to pick up his sixth straight win and get a high profiled name added to his resume. Puelles has looked sensational during this winning streak but no win was more impressive than his last.

He took on UFC legend Clay Guida and was able to submit him in the first round with a kneebar. It was his second straight win by kneebar and he’s had three wins during this winning streak by kneebar. He’s been waiting to break through against a big name and this is his chance.

UFC lightweight return

When Dan Hooker first started in the UFC, he had a very up and down run at featherweight. He decided to move to lightweight and he surged up the rankings. He made it all the way to a headliner bout with Dustin Poirier. Had he won that fight, he would’ve earned a title shot.

Heading into the third, he was up 2-0 on The Diamond. However, he would lose the final three rounds and that’s where things went wrong. After that, he was knocked out in the first round by Michael Chandler. He bounced back against Nasrat Haqparast, but then was submitted by Islam Makhachev.

Finding himself at a struggling point, Hooker decided to move back down to featherweight. It turned out to be a bad move as Arnold Allen stopped him in the first at UFC London. Hooker is just 1-4 in his last five, but he’s wanting to fight on.

This is a really good step back in terms of competition so it gives him a good chance to get going in the right direction. However, Puelles is no joke and he’s going to test Hooker when they fight in November.