Chandler is the former Bellator lightweight champion and he’s been widely considered to be one of the best lightweights in the world for a long time. After spending ten years with Bellator, Chandler made the jump to the UFC in 2020.
Chandler was actually introduced to the UFC audience as the backup for the Khabib Nurmagomedov – Justin Gaethje fight. He traveled to Fight Island and made weight, but ultimately didn’t compete.
This will be Chandler’s first true action in the UFC. Outside of a doctor stoppage due to a leg injury, Chandler has only lost once since 2015. He comes into the fight tomorrow night riding a two-fight first round knockout streak.
However, Chandler is jumping right into the deep end of the pool. Dan Hooker completely turned his career around when he moved up to 155 pounds. After struggling for years at 145, Hooker moved up and it’s changed everything.
Since moving to lightweight, Dan Hooker has only lost twice. Those two losses came against Edson Barboza and Dustin Poirier. However, he’s picked up wins over Paul Felder, Al Iaquinta, and Gilbert Burns.
UFC 257 Prediction
When it comes to my UFC 257 prediction, it’s all going to come down to the grappling. Yes, Michael Chandler has two first round knockouts in his last two fights. However, I don’t believe he wants to purely stand and trade with Dan Hooker.
Hooker is a sniper on the feet and enjoys a big reach advantage in this fight. For Michael Chandler, he’s going to have to land some takedowns or get some control in this one if he wants to win. If it becomes just a standup fight, I think he’ll get picked apart over three rounds.
That said, Chandler does have the power and speed to land one massive shot on the feet. For Dan Hooker, he needs to keep this fight standing and he needs to keep this fight at range. If he does that, he’ll be able to spoil Chandler’s UFC debut.
This is a fight where I see both men enjoying some success. I think Hooker is going to land some big shots, and I also believe that Michael Chandler is going to land a couple of takedowns as well as land on the feet. So who walks away with their hand raised?
I’m not confident in this pick at all, but I’m leaning towards Michael Chandler. If this fight was five rounds, I’d probably lean towards Hooker because I’ve seen Chandler get tired, but in three rounds, I think he’ll use his wrestling to score enough points to win two of the rounds.
That said, if Dan Hooker is able to keep this standing, I could easily see him picking Chandler apart on the feet. I wouldn’t put money on this pick, but Chandler will win his UFC debut in a very close fight.
Prediction: Michael Chandler by Split Decision