UFC 267 Preview: Dan Hooker – Islam Makhachev

Tomorrow on the main card of UFC 267 we will see a tremendous lightweight contest between Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-10) and Islam Makhachev (20-1). Hooker will be looking for his second win in just over a month while Makhachev will be going for his eighth straight win.

There haven’t been many lightweights as dominant as Islam Makhachev over the past few years. You can point to his coach and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as the one person who’s been more dominant.

The dream for AKA and Eagles MMA was for Makhachev to take over for Khabib right after the former UFC lightweight champion retired and Makhachev just might be on his way. He’s 9-1 in the UFC and right now he looks like he could be one of if not the best in the world.

Standing in his way tomorrow is the tough Dan Hooker. Hooker went on a great run when he moved from featherweight to lightweight. That run led him to a fight with Dustin Poirier last year. In a war, Hooker fell short by decision. Afterwards, Hooker last by TKO to Michael Chandler.

Last month, Hooker took on Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 and was able to pick up the decision win. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of this UFC 267 matchup with Makhachev, Hooker immediately stepped up for this massive opportunity.

UFC 267 Prediction

In his past few fights, we’ve seen Islam Makhachev show off some decent striking. However, make no mistake about it, he’s not going to try and strike with Dan Hooker at UFC 267. Tomorrow night is all going to come down to the takedown.

If Islam Makhachev can get Hooker down with ease, it’s going to be a long night for The Hangman. We’ve seen what that Dagestani pressure and wrestling can do to some of the best fighters in the world. Makhachev possesses all the skills to ground and control Hooker.

However, Hooker isn’t going to make it easy. The Hangman is a sniper from the outside and if Makhachev is sloppy, he could get put out with a clean shot. He’s not invincible and we’ve seen him get knocked out in his only loss in the UFC.

Personally, I see Hooker landing some good shots in the early part of all three rounds. However, I don’t think any shot is going to be enough to take Makhachev out. Ultimately, I think Makhachev is able to land enough takedowns and control Hooker enough to win a decision here.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev by Unanimous Decision