Dan Hooker will replace RDA against Makhachev

A week after winning his fight against Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266, Dan Hooker has accepted the challenge of facing the division’s boogeyman, Islam Makhachev. It is a low-risk, high reward type of fight for Hooker, as he will be going in as a heavy underdog but if he somehow pulls off a win, he might get back in the top 5 rankings.

How many times has the Rafael Dos Anjos vs Islam Makhachev fight been made and yet never happens? It is either RDA will pull out or Islam will put, we could possibly see another Khabib vs Ferguson fantasy fight, where fans want to see it and have been booked many times and yet finds a way to be canceled.

Makhachev accused RDA of ducking him after hearing the news but Dos Anjos responded with a savage reply. He said that unlike him who pays for the training camp, he does not have the luxury of canceling the fight since Khabib is the one paying for Islam’s camp.

Dan Hooker just fought under his teammate’s undercard, Alexander Volkanovski, and now a quick turnaround for Hooker. His team City Kickboxing has expressed dislike with their country’s protocol of being too strict and that they don’t welcome their fighters more. Once they arrive in the States, they need to cut weight immediately which is tiresome for a fighter.

Not only that they need to quarantine after their fight which sucks if the fighter is coming off a brutal loss. Hooker has said that they are planning to move their team to the US in order to have better convenience and focus more on training rather than their traveling.

Stylistically it will be interesting to see how Dan Hooker will defend Islam’s high-level wrestling. Islam has been compared to his teammate Khabib as his next heir to the throne, many are even avoiding him as he is just a tough matchup for anyone. He is like Khabib, you already know his game plan which is to take his opponents down but there is just nothing you can do about it.

Dan Hooker is also a big lightweight and could use his range, he also has a well-timed knee that could knock his opponent out so anything can happen and Hooker can actually pull off a win. He is durable and could take a punch, the only time he got knocked flush was against Michael Chandler but Islam doesn’t possess that type of explosiveness as well.

Jun 10, 2017; Auckland, NZ; Dan Hooker (red gloves) fights against Ross Pearson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Spark Arena. Mandatory Credit: Simon Watts-USA TODAY Sports

Hooker also possesses a great guillotine choke that has finished many guys but the question is will it work against someone that is a high-level grappler like Makhachev?

Khabib has predicted that Islam Makhachev will be the next champion that will dominate the division for long. It can also prove that Khabib’s Father Abdulmanap is a great teacher by proving that not only Khabib can be a champion but also other Dagestani fighters.

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