Dan Hooker stops Claudio Puelles at UFC 281

Daniel Cunningham

Kicking off the main card of tonight’s UFC 281 stacked lineup was a lightweight matchup between one of City Kickboxing’s finest. “The Hangman” Dan Hooker (21-12) was moving back up to lightweight to take on Claudio Puelles (13-2).

Hooker is back at lightweight after a brief stop at featherweight. A couple of years ago, Hooker seemed to be on the verge of a title shot. However, since then, he’s gone 1-4 in his last five fights. That said, he was ready to make a statement tonight in NYC.

Standing across from him was Claudio Puelles. Puelles entered the octagon riding a five-fight winning streak. Every time we see him, he continues to get better and better. Tonight, he was looking for the biggest win of his UFC career.

UFC 281 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 281 lightweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Hooker takes the center to start things out. Low kicks early from Hooker. Head kick attempt from Puelles and Hooker answers with one of his own. Another low kick from Hooker.

Body kick from Hooker and then a low kick. This is exactly the type of fight that Hooker wants as he lands a left hook. Out of no where, Puelles rolls for a knee bar and gets Hooker to the ground. Hooker is in deep trouble here as Puelles has ahold of his legs.

Hooker is defending well for now. Puelles continues attacking the knee, but Hooker is staying calm. Hooker gets his leg out and now he’s on top. Hooker backs away and they are back to striking. Puelles tries to roll again, but Hooker evades.

Big right straight from Hooker knocks Puelles’ mouthpiece loose. Hooker presses forward and Puelles falls to his back to try and grapple. The round ends and it’s 1-0 Hooker at UFC 281.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 281 and it looks clear that Puelles’ only shot is getting this one to the ground. Hooker opens things with a body kick. Takedown attempt from Puelles is easily defended. Hooker lands a nice combination on the come up.

Another big combination from Hooker who is walking Puelles down now. Big right hand from Hooker and a big left hook follows it. Puelles is breathing very heavy here and Hooker pops him with a jab. Another big left hook from Hooker and Puelles desperately shoots for a takedown.

The crowd boos loudly and Hooker backs away. Another takedown attempt from Puelles is easily defended. Hooker backing him down here and lands a body kick. Takedown attempt from Puelles and he’s deep on this shot, but Hooker is defending well.

Hooker sprawls and lands a nice body shot. They are back to striking and Hooker hurts him bad with a body shot. Hooker really putting the pressure on him here. Puelles keeps diving for takedowns and Hooker is essentially mocking him here. Hooker makes him get up and he immediately drops him with another body kick. They stop the fight and Dan Hooker gets the TKO at UFC 281.

Dan Hooker def. Claudio Puelles by TKO – Round 3