Dan Hooker goes down to Dustin Poirier in instant classic UFC bout

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Jun 2020, 4:05PM
Dustin Poirier beat Dan Hooker by unanimous decision in an instant classic. (Photo / Getty)
Dustin Poirier beat Dan Hooker by unanimous decision in an instant classic. (Photo / Getty)

Dan Hooker goes down to Dustin Poirier in instant classic UFC bout

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Jun 2020, 4:05PM

Dan Hooker and Dustin Poirier have likely booked their place in the fight wing of the UFC Hall of Fame.

A match-up between the two lightweight contenders promised the perfect mix of strategy execution and violence. But the performance delivered well above expectations.

Both fighters landed heavy strikes and had moments in the grappling exchanges in a back and forth affair, with Poirier taking a unanimous decision win.

One of the most anticipated UFC bouts of the year, things started as advertised between Hooker and Poirier. Trading strikes through the opening five minutes, Hooker got the better of the exchanges, impressing with work to all areas of Poirier's body.

The former interim lightweight champion didn't hold back though, clipping Hooker with his fast hands and trying to mix in some grappling.

The second round followed suit, with both fighters landing punches that might put out an inferior opponent. However, two of the best in the world, it was going to take more than a few power shots to end it.

Both fighters donned the proverbial crimson mask by the midway point of the second round, showing the intent and execution both athletes were approaching the fight with.

Just as one looked to take over, the other would land heavy and stunt all momentum the other had built.

Working Poirier's body early began to pay dividends for Hooker toward the end of the second round as the damage began to pile up. Poirier looked to be in real trouble late in theround but was able to see it out.

Losing the exchanges on the feet, Poirier took advantage of a Hooker takedown midway through the third round, locking Hooker's head up in a guillotine choke. The Kiwi was able to slither free - his sweat likely helping things - and worked top position.

Poirier was able to work to his feet, landing some heavy punches on the durable Hooker before the round was out.

As he did in his main event against Paul Felder in Auckland in February, Hooker slowed down in the fourth round. However, seemingly learning from that experience, he worked more takedowns - a risky move against a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt like Poirier.

Poirier looked to have the fight sewn up late in the fourth round when he locked a deep armbar in, but Hooker managed to roll out of it and get back to his feet.

Likely tied on the score cards going into the final round, there was everything to fight for.

In the fifth round, Poirier had the most success, taking the front foot and put his mark on the fight - doing enough to win over the judges.