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Dan Hooker vs Nasrat Haqparast added to UFC 266 on Sept. 25

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“Hangman” will be leaving New Zealand to take on the tough (but unranked) Haqparast in yet another solid addition to UFC’s upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) event.

UFC 257 Poirier v McGregor: Weigh-Ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Dan Hooker will return to action at UFC 266 on Sept. 25, 2021, against Nasrat Haqparast. The fight, originally reported by BJPenn.com earlier this week, was confirmed by UFC during UFC Vegas 34’s ESPN/ESPN+ broadcast.

The New Zealand fighter has been vocal about wanting to get back in the cage, and who wouldn’t want to after the disappointing way his 2021 started: with a first round knockout to Michael Chandler at UFC 257 in January. Before that, Hooker lost a hard-fought decision to Dustin Poirier in June 2020.

Those two losses have dropped “The Hangman” out of the Lightweight Top 5 down to a No. 8 ranking. Numerous fighters are only looking to compete against people higher than them on the ladder, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Hooker, whose opponent Nasrat Haqparast is unranked and 5-2 UFC (13-3 MMA).

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BLOCKBUSTER CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) International Fight Week returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., July 2, 2022, capped by a stacked card headlined by a blockbuster championship double header. In UFC 276’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, reigning Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, defends his crown against No. 2-ranked contender, Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has his sights set on successfully defending his title once again against No. 1-seeded contender, Max Holloway, for the third (and likely final) time.

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It will be interesting to see how big of a sacrifice it will be for Hooker to head out to Las Vegas for UFC 266. New Zealand is currently trying to stem a breakout of COVID-19 inside its borders, and there aren’t a lot of travel vouchers available to allow Hooker back into the country once he leaves.

Following his UFC 257 loss, Hooker was stuck in limbo away from his family for more than 50 days. With restrictions only tightening, he may want to hope for a definitive win and quick turnaround stateside rather than a return home.

Hooker’s addition is just an extra cherry on top of a nice sundae for hardcore fight fans. Headlined by Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega for the Featherweight title, the card also features Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy for the women’s Flyweight strap and a rematch between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler.


To check out the latest and greatest UFC 266 fight card and rumors click here.