UFC on ESPN 11: MAIN EVENT MADNESS Poirier vs Hooker UFC Fight Night: Vegas 4 | Main Event Breakdown

Written by on June 24, 2020

Poirier vs Hooker
UFC Fight Night: Vegas 4 | Main Event Breakdown

By Jason Paglia

Take 3! Tonight we have UFC Vegas 3 to look forward too. This card is better than last week although it’s hard to have done better than the Sports Keg did the previous week. This fight card should be more entertaining than last weekend because the card is way better than UFC Vegas 2 was. Below we take an in-depth look at tonight’s Main Event matchup between Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov.

Dustin Poirier (25-6)

The fighting pride of Lafayette, Louisiana, Dustin Poirier is one of the most underestimated MMA fighters of all time. He was not a man that became a megastar overnight. It’s fitting that he is called ‘The Diamond,’ like a diamond it has taken a while and a ton of pressure to mold himself into the diamond he ended up being, the interim lightweight champion of the world. In 2009 he turned professional, and after an 8-1 record on the regional scene, he gained the attention of the biggest MMA promotion in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In his first UFC fight, Poirier beat Josh Grispi by unanimous decision. After a 4-0 start for the promotion, Poirier suffered his first loss against Chan Sung Jung via submission. Since his first loss in the UFC, Dustin Poirier has won 13 of his 17 fights. He has been an underdog in many of them, and he has won most of them. He walks into the cage on Saturday, trying to climb his way back into the UFC lightweight championship title picture.

The BEST of DUSTIN POIRIER

STRIKING – In my opinion, Dustin Poirier has excellent striking skills. One of the best high-volume strikers fighting at 155 pounds. His combinations don’t stop flying at your face, and he has phenomenal striking accuracy. This is his most underestimated skill and the reason he has won so many fights as an underdog. On a side note, he has a very underrated kicking game. Not sure how much we will see of that in the smaller cage on Saturday, but if he wants to use them, they are in the toolbox.

GROUND GAME – Poirier has a VERY underrated grappling game. His BJJ is real. He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and has proven on multiple occasions that fighters should not sleep on his ground game. On top of that, he is a decent wrestler when he has to be with excellent top control and is more than capable of keeping opponents on the mat while he smashes their head repeatedly.

POWER – Poirier has power in his hands. Has he shut the lights out with one punch? Not really, but is he capable of doing it? YES. He has enough power in his hands to put every fighter he has fought the last three years on rubber legs, that’s good enough for me.

The WORST of DUSTIN POIRIER

PRESSURE – We have seen Poirier have problems with guys that get in his face and cut the cage off immediately. Pressure has been a problem for him at times. In a smaller cage, Dan Hooker can cut the cage off Moore easily, which could be a problem potentially.

CHAOS THEORY – If you dive deep into Poirier’s losses, they almost always happen in wild exchanges and scrambles. He forgets to defend himself during times of complete chaos. Does the question become how man scrambles will happen in this fight with Dan Hooker?

Dan Hooker (20-8)

 

Dan Hooker made his professional MMA career in 2009. He came up in the New Zealand regional scene amassing a 10-4 record before he caught the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He signed a UFC in early 2014 and debuted in the UFC at a UFC Fight Night against Ian Entwhistle and won via knockout. Since entering the UFC, Hooker has amassed an 8-4 record and has notable wins over James Vick, Gilbert Burns, and Jim Miller.

After his last three fights against James Vick, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder, he finally cracked the top 5 in the UFC Lightweight rankings. This Saturday will be the biggest fight of

Dan Hooker’s career. Will he rise to the occasion, grab the moment, get his hand raised, and break into the top 3? After watching his last fight against Felder, he is certainly capable of winning this weekend. Will he get it done?

The BEST of DAN HOOKER

COUNTER STRIKING – he is an excellent counter striker, which against Poirier is significant, considering Dustin likes to lead exchanges.

RANGE – Dan Hooker might not be the best range striker in the division, but it is excellent, and it’s most definitely an attribute. He will use it often against Poirier, considering how good Poirier is in the pocket.

TAKEDOWN DEFENSE – You might not think it by looking at him, but Hooker defends about 8 out of every ten takedowns attempted. That is strong and will serve him well considering AT SOME POINT Dustin Poirier can decide to take the fight to the ground and try to impose his excellent BJJ game on Hooker.

The WORST of DAN HOOKER

SLOW STARTER – Dan Hooker is a notoriously slow starter. He is a counter striker, so he takes his time in there, and makes sure he has his opponents timing down before really letting loose. The problem there is he is almost always down around before his game plan starts to take shape.)

SLOW STARTER PART 2 – When he can’t rely on his range counter striking game, and he is forced to lead the action, he just looks plain wrong at it. His timing is always off, and he doesn’t come from the right angles. He is at his best when he follows someone else’s exchanges.

WHO WIN THIS FIGHT?

If you are betting a side in this fight, I think the right side to bet is Dan Hooker. Do I think he wins this fight? No, I don’t. If you had to nail me down, I’m not stepping in front of the train that is Dustin Poirier. That being said, the odds seem wrong to me.

If I were setting this line, Poirier would be closer to (-170), not the current odds of (-225). My line would put Dan Hooker in the (+140) range, not (+180). Based on line value, you take Hooker and hold your nose. Is he capable of winning this fight? Yes. He was incredibly impressive against Paul Felder in his last fight, and if he replicates that effort, it’s a possibility that wins the fight.

However, Dustin Poirier has been flawless in the last few years. Nobody can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov; we know that. So, take that loss and throw it out the window. What have we seen from Poirier to make us think he isn’t the deserving favorite who has the best chance to win this fight? In my opinion, NOTHING.

If you take Hooker, fair play to you, I think it’s the right bet. I will probably stay away from betting on a fighter and look for an alternative angle.

With the amount of leather that will be thrown in Saturday night’s 5 round main event, I just don’t see how this fight goes the distance. Poirier has the ability to hurt Hooker, and Poirier has been injured in most battles that he has won.

The line for a fight not to go to the distance is very close to the path I would have set. Ordinary recreational golfers are not looking to lay (-275) on a bet. The question becomes how we knock that price down……

This card is rough and filled with fighters I have never heard of. If I haven’t heard of you, they might as well be a ghost. The answer to our parlay hunt lies in the PGA Travelers Championship.

As much as I don’t like him, Bryson DeChambeau has been incredibly consistent lately. If you add him an Travelers Championship favorite Rory McIlroy to make the cut this week, it knocks the (-275) down to a very reasonable (-120) considering the risk involved. At (-120), I’m in.

THE PICK
Parlay: Poirier/Hooker does NOT go the Distance + DeChambeau, and McIlroy MAKE the cut at the Travelers Championship: (-125)

 

 

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