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Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker full fight preview | UFC London

UFC 267: Makhachev v Hooker Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight strikers Arnold Allen and Dan Hooker will duel this weekend (Sat., March 19, 2022) inside O2 Arena in London, England.

Did you know Allen is on one of the longest active win streaks in UFC? The Welsh fighter is undefeated (8-0) inside the Octagon and has earned a spot in the Top 10, but he’s still struggling to make enough noise to gain momentum toward a title shot — perhaps a win over a name like Hooker helps his case? “The Hangman” is in an odd situation. We’ve seen Hooker at Featherweight previously, and the results honestly weren’t great. He’s historically much better at 155 pounds, but since his position in that title picture has worsened, we’re going to try the same thing ... and hope for different results?

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

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Bantamweight Battle! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., May 21, 2022, with a must-watch women’s Bantamweight contenders’ bout between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Holly Holm, taking on No. 5-seeded Ketlen Vieira. In UFC Vegas 55’s co-main event, No. 14-ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio will lock horns with Michel Pereira in an absolute Welterweight firecracker.

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Arnold Allen

Record: 17-1
Key Wins: Sodiq Yusuff (UFC Vegas 23), Gilbert Melendez (UFC 239), Nik Lentz (UFC Fight Night 166), Makwan Amirkhani (UFC Fight Night 107), Mads Burnell (UFC Fight Night 130)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Allen is a very tactical fighter. Armed primarily with a sharp jab and solid counter punching, Allen very often makes excellent fighters look a whole lot more average as they struggle to get offense going against “Almighty.”

This bout may end up a battle of jab vs. calf kick. If Hooker is successfully able to chop up the lead leg as Allen establishes his lead hand, well, that’s a big problem. All of a sudden, it’s Hooker leading the dance and setting traps, which bodes poorly for Allen.

To avoid that situation, feints are key. Allen has to keep Hooker guessing as to when he’s actually committing to the jab, and if he does draw out a naked low kick, answer immediately with a combination. A couple hard shots while Hooker is off-balance can serve as a serious deterrence, which will help Allen get the lead hand flowing nicely.

There are lots of other tricks Allen can use to punish the low kick. For example, he can lift his lead knee as he steps forward, presenting his shin/knee towards Hooker’s kick. Then, he’ll still land in position to fire, often from a closer distance than his opponent anticipates.


Dan Hooker

Record: 21-11
Key Wins: Gilbert Burns (UFC 226), Paul Felder (UFC Fight Night 168), Nasrat Haqparast (UFC 266), Al Iaquinta (UFC 243), James Vick (UFC on ESPN 4), Marc Diakiese (UFC 219)
Key Losses: Islam Makhachev (UFC 267), Dustin Poirier (UFC on ESPN 12), Michael Chandler (UFC 257), Edson Barboza (UFC on FOX 31), Yair Rodriguez (UFC 192)
Keys to Victory: Hooker is a crafty striker with major power in his hands. Despite his lanky build, Hooker isn’t exactly a committed distance fighter. In general, he’s happy to fire away in the pocket, though he’s not above mixing a takedown into his offense too.

The last time Hooker fought at 145 pounds — Nov. 2016, for the curious — speed and defense were the issue. I’m not trying to claim Hooker was a defensive wizard at Lightweight, but statistically, the smaller, faster men at Featherweight were able to find his chin more often ... and at a worse rate.

Assuming Hooker is dealing with the same disadvantage here, timing will be everything. Hooker has to get a read on Allen’s timing quickly and start intercepting his strikes. The calf kick counter to the jab is a great example, but Hooker’s rolling hook can be a huge difference maker if he knows where Allen is going to be.

At the same time, Hooker has to initiate — it’s hard to solely be reactive against faster men. As such, it may be appropriate for Hooker to make it a focus to stalk Allen and try to force him on the defensive a bit.


Bottom Line

This is a high-quality co-main event.

Allen is a great fighter, but he’s not really making much progress toward the Featherweight title. He needs to defeat a known, highly-ranked fighter to really break through the pack. Does Hooker fit that bill? Kind of, but Allen can really make his case by upping the offense and trying to batter Hooker.

An impressive win should earn him a Top 5 opponent next.

Hooker really has one chance with this whole Featherweight return thing. If he’s victorious this weekend, Hooker is introduced into the Featherweight Top 10 for the first time, and he’s an actual contender! If not, everyone writes this off as a terrible idea, and Hooker would likely be better off pursuing action fights at a weight class that isn’t miserable for him.

At UFC London, Arnold Allen and Dan Hooker will go to war in the co-main event. Which man will earn the victory?


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC London fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 4 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC London: “Volkov vs. Aspinall” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.