Clint’s Corner: Blaydes vs. Volkov Recap & Poirier vs. Hooker Preview

by Pub Sports Radio

Clint’s Corner: Blaydes vs. Volkov Recap & Poirier vs. Hooker Preview

By: Clint Maclean (@DieHardMMAPod)

 

Okay. So let’s start with the obvious. Blaydes vs. Volkov did not deliver as the main event. All the trash talk and all the hype didn’t come through, and Blayde’s struggled more with Volkov than the majority of fans expected him to. But what did we expect, right? Blaydes is the premier grappler at Heavyweight, and Volkov is insanely tight. All props to Volkov for being durable enough to hang in there, but the final result seemed inevitable.

The real story coming from last Saturday’s fights is Emmett vs. Burgos and the battle of the year candidate we were treated to. The co-main event was an absolute treat, and the strategies both fighters employed were perfect. Burgos was focusing on the legs and body of Emmett while Emmett was looking for the KO and headhunting from the opening bell. A lesser man would’ve had his legs give out, and a smaller man would have fallen to the canvas and stayed down. We watched an immovable object face an unstoppable force, and somehow the fight went a glorious 15 minutes and made it to the judges’ cards. I had R1 extraordinarily close and could have gone either way with round 2 going to Emmett for the big power shots he was landing. I am appalled that the 3rd round wasn’t scored a 10-8 for Emmett on all three cards. There was a genuine possibility of that fight being scored a draw as well.

I could write a full book on how that card was scored and how close it was, but if you had a Josh Emmett ticket in your pocket, I believe you were on the right side of that fight regardless of the outcome. Enough about last week’s card! Let’s talk about this week! This is another scrappy card with some new and mid-tier names on the undercard, but don’t judge a book by its cover. These are the kinds of cards that tend to blow up and be epic because these fighters are still looking to make a name for themselves.

On the undercard Jordan the Native Psycho Griffin is getting back on track in the cage after having his opponent drop out on him just a few short days before the fight two weeks ago, Sean Woodson is taking on Kyle “The Monster” Nelson in a prospect showdown, and Philipe Lins is looking to get his UFC career back on track after getting outclassed by Andre Arlovski in his UFC debut. These fights should all be competitive, and there are some wide lines this week, so if you like betting underdogs, this might be your week! There are always upsets every fight week, and if you pick the right ones this week, you will be handsomely rewarded.

We should have a slow but steady build to a crescendo at the end of the night when Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier finally returns to take on Dan “The Hangman” Hooker. Dustin hasn’t been seen since being mauled by the King of 155, Khabib Nurmagomedov, nearly a full year ago. You always have to wonder where a fighter’s head is at immediately losing their title. Is Dustin going to come back stronger than ever and focused on another run at the title he just lost? Or is Dustin going to go back a shell of himself after hitting the pinnacle of the sport? Dustin is the kind of fighter who I believe is hunting to be one of the greats. That is a motivation that can push you harder than anything else and past your normal limits. If his goal was simply to be a UFC champion, then we could see his sails deflated, but I don’t think we will get a withered Poirier Saturday.

Across the cage is Dan Hooker, who is the 3rd wheel of City Kickboxing and the only one of The Big Three not to hold UFC gold. Dan trains with 145-pound champion Volkanovski and 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya, and it seems like a matter of destiny that he holds the 155-pound title at some point. Unfortunately for Dan, 155 is the most stacked division in the UFC, and even a win on Saturday does not guarantee him a title shot. A win over a former titleholder in Poirier would do a lot to strengthen his case. Still, after Khabib defends his belt against Gaethje, the UFC is dead set on giving the rematch to Conor McGregor, and I don’t see Conor taking a Hooker fight as a warm-up. Hooker is doing it all right and has chipped away at the division to reach this point, but he might be rushing to wait even if he wins on Saturday.

Both Dustin and Hooker faced similar opponents physically recently, so we have some idea of how this fight will go, but both men are so well rounded this fight could end anywhere and at any time. Dustin went to war in his rematch against Max Holloway and showed us that he could go a full 25 minutes with a tall, lanky opponent, and Hooker went a full 25 against a physical fighter with a robust boxing base. Both men have damage building on them, and I anticipate both want to make a statement to have the opportunity to call for either a Conor fight or the title. I am curious to see where the bookmakers drop the total at for this fight because I think this fight ends late. I don’t know either man getting an early finish and would love to see an Over 2.5 if the line was set right, and I was getting + money on it. If you pick your fighter, I would take them on the prop bets in rounds 3,4, and 5 for those wild + money lines and pray for a late finish. The strategy here is low risk with a high reward and then just sit back and enjoy!! I lean to Dustin with the power he brings and considering that Hooker was coming off a war only a few short months ago, but I understand entirely taking the shot on Hooker here. He is in the right place, and we are about to find out if it’s the right time or not. This kid Hooker has all the skills and talent in the world, and now he finally gets his real test.

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