UFC Fight Night viewers guide: Poirier-Hooker a spotlight on the UFCs most compelling division

LAS VEGAS– Even with so much going on, in many weight classes, the 155-pound department is still the UFCs greatest draw.
The UFC is incredibly intriguing right now. There will be a teammate vs. colleague title fight going down at welterweight next month.

Saturdays UFC Fight Night centerpiece is anticipated to be a slugfest, with leading lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker squaring off. Poirier won four straight battles prior to falling to Khabib Nurmagomedov in September, and Hooker has actually won 3 in a row.
UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker – Saturday, Las Vegas – Prelims: ESPN/ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET – Main card: ESPN/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET
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Those are simply a few of the storylines swirling around the sport. However at the end of the day, the most burning questions in blended martial arts still include the UFCs lightweight department.
This weekends UFC Fight Night centerpiece at the promos Apex facility will include former title challenger Dustin Poirier (25-6, 1 NC; 17-5, 1 NC in the UFC) handling New Zealands Dan Hooker (20-8; 10-4 UFC) in a light-weight match that almost everyone concurs should be pure fireworks. Its a battle no real MMA fan will wish to miss, even if its tough to say precisely where the winner will go next.
Why is it difficult to state? Since there are some very important unanswered concerns at light-weight right now. Specifically:

Simply put, theres a lot to hypothesize on. Approved, speculation is just that. Its a guess. Its all dream. At this moment, its unclear what will happen in this division beyond September, when Nurmagomedov and Gaethje are anticipated to combat.
However as we get ready for a definitely excellent, five-round centerpiece between two of the very best lightweights worldwide on Saturday, it is hard to simply completely neglect the questions sticking around over the department. Since without those responses, its difficult to know what the postfight story will be, regardless of the outcome.
ESPN.com IllustrationBy the numbers
17: Victories by Poirier given that joining the UFC in 2011. That connects him for the second most in the promo throughout that time. Poiriers 11 finishes in the UFC connect him for the 3rd most given that 2011.
2 Related6.51: Significant strikes landed per minute in the UFC by Poirier, the third most in light-weight history. Hooker is 5th amongst active 155-pounders, landing 5.75 per minute.
5: Fighters in UFC history who have completed challengers with all 4 of these strikes: elbows, kicks, punches and knees. Hooker is one of them. The others: Vitor Belfort, Georges St-Pierre, Anthony Smith and Jeremy Stephens.
6: Knockouts by Poirier given that signing up with the UFCs lightweight department in 2015. Its the most by a 155-pounder during that time.
1.14: Knockdowns per fight for Hooker, on average, the second-best average amongst active UFC lightweights. In all, Hooker has actually scored a promotion-best six knockdowns since joining the department in 2017.
Five vs. 5
Dustin Poiriers latest resultsLoss: Khabib Nurmagomedov (SUB3, Sept. 7, 2019; watch on ESPN+) Win: Max Holloway (UD, April 13, 2019; watch on ESPN+) Win: Eddie Alvarez (TKO2, July 28, 2018) Win: Justin Gaethje (TKO4, April 14, 2018) Win: Anthony Pettis (SUB3, Nov. 11, 2017).
Dan Hookers latest resultsWin: Paul Felder (SD, Feb. 23, 2020; watch on ESPN+) Win: Al Iaquinta (UD, Oct. 6, 2019; watch on ESPN+) Win: James Vick (KO1, July 20, 2019; watch on ESPN+) Loss: Edson Barboza (TKO3, Dec. 15 2018) Win: Gilbert Burns (KO1, July 7, 2018).
Brett Okamotos forecast.

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Ill take Poirier. His strength of schedule in the last few years is second to none: Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Nurmagomedov. It genuinely does not get any harder than that. And at some point, one might argue thats not a good thing– to deal with absolutely nothing however the finest back-to-back-to-back. For right now, I like Poiriers edge in experience. I like his boxing, his underrated ground video game and the fact he traveled a much shorter range to Las Vegas than Hooker did. This is a really, really competitive fight, however Ill lean Poirier. Poirier by means of TKO, third round.
Saturdays battle card.
WelterweightBrendan Allen vs. Kyle Daukaus
Jordan Griffin vs. Youssef Zalal|Guys featherweight.
What else to search for … beyond the centerpiece.
Is Mike Perry backing himself into a corner?
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesMickey Gall has combated all however one of his expert bouts in the UFC. WWE star CM Punk had actually expressed an interest in transitioning from pro battling to MMA battling, and the UFC needed a suitable opponent to invite him to the Octagon.
However if you wish to see somebody starting a particularly odd career path on Saturday, look throughout the Octagon from Gall to his opponent in the welterweight co-main occasion, Mike Perry.
After going 2-5 considering that 2017, Perry has decided to enter this bout without any coaching. He has said the only person in his corner will be his sweetheart, who will hand him a water bottle between rounds and ice down his neck.
Perry has actually never ever looked like the most coachable fighter to begin with. When its time to toss down, “Platinum Mike” just throws down. But will going it alone alter the course of his flagging career?
Well soon find out.
Two things to know (from ESPN Stats & & Information research).
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1. Brendan Allen will take on the debuting Kyle Daukaus in a middleweight bout on the main card. Allen enters upon a six-fight win streak, including his very first two UFC fights, both of which he won by means of finish. Allen has actually won 13 of his 14 profession battles by blockage, with eight ending in the very first round.
Deserving prevailed in his UFC launching against Devonte Smith in August despite being a +650 underdog. That was the greatest upset in the UFC because Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in 2015, and it was only the fifth time in the UFC given that 2007 that a fighter had actually won as an underdog at +650 or higher. If Worthy wins the light-weight bout, he would join Volkan Oezdemir and Kevin Burns as the only fighters because 2007 to win both of their first 2 UFC fights as an underdog of 2-1 or greater.

And if McGregor is not retired (I dont think he is), and the UFC were to try to book him against the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje (I believe the promotion would), and Nurmagomedov were to beat Gaethje (which he is preferred to do), would Nurmagomedov even concur to fight McGregor a second time? Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesMickey Gall has actually battled all however one of his professional bouts in the UFC. Allen gets in on a six-fight win streak, including his first 2 UFC fights, both of which he won by means of surface. That was the greatest upset in the UFC considering that Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in 2015, and it was only the fifth time in the UFC given that 2007 that a fighter had won as an underdog at +650 or greater. If Worthy wins the lightweight bout, he would sign up with Volkan Oezdemir and Kevin Burns as the only fighters since 2007 to win both of their very first 2 UFC battles as an underdog of 2-1 or greater.

UFC president Dana White likewise states McGregor is retired. Other contenders, consisting of Poirier, are pleased to believe that. “He stated hes retired,” Poirier informed ESPN.
And if McGregor is not retired (I dont believe he is), and the UFC were to attempt to book him versus the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje (I believe the promo would), and Nurmagomedov were to beat Gaethje (which he is preferred to do), would Nurmagomedov even accept fight McGregor a second time? Thats a real, legitimate concern. Nurmagomedov has actually stated he will not, and he is pretty honest.
Oh, and by the way, if Nurmagomedov were to lose to Gaethje– which is possible– it would be the very first loss of his career. Wouldnt an immediate rematch be in order? And if that were to take place, then what do you make with McGregor (assuming, of course, he isnt in fact retired)?