Dan Hooker aims to regain lost ground at UFC 281, makes bold claim about Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya

Updated on Nov 12, 2022 05:18 PM IST

Israel Adesanya will be headlining the main event at UFC 281, where he is set to defend his middleweight title against long-time rival Alex Pereira.

New Zealand MMA fighters Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker(Instagram/danhangman)
New Zealand MMA fighters Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker(Instagram/danhangman)

After falling short on previous occasions, Dan Hooker will hope to return to winning ways when he steps inside the Octagon against Claudio Puelles at UFC 281, which takes place in the Madison Square Garden in New York. Hooker has lost four of his previous five fights, while his opponent, Claudio Puelles boasts of a superb five-fight winning streak heading into the duel.

Three of Puelles's five wins have come via submissions, effectively using the kneebars, which Hooker is completely aware of. Hooker also admits that the upcoming fight will be a “tough test”, which will give him an idea about where he stands in the Lightweight division. "He's dangerous, young, and comes in on a good streak. Pretty handy on the feet, and I think everyone knows about the knee bars that he's got in store. So he's a tough test.

“So I'm excited to get out there and prove where I stand. But in terms of training, I would have to say it's the best training camp of my career,” the MMA fighter told hindustantimes.com in an exclusive interview.

Hooker has been in the cage against the best in the business, which include the current Lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. And he believes the experience of being against the top-ranked fighters will surely come handy against Puelles. "It definitely comes into play being in those kind of situations or being in main event spots. The experience of being in big moments, helps you understand the pressure of those moments, and I believe, I'm not sure, but this will be the first time he's fighting on a pay-per-view main event. Madison Square Garden.

“It's a huge moment for him, for his career. So I understand the pressure, but I've been there before. I've learned from those things and I guess it as a bit of an advantage,” said Hooker.

The New Zealand MMA fighter has been training for the show with his countrymen and Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. The champ will be headlining the main event at UFC 281, where he is set to defend his title against Alex Pereira. The two share a long rivalry, which has seen Pereira get the better of Adesanya but in kickboxing. This is the first time the two will be involved in a MMA fight. Passing his verdict, on the much-anticipated fight of the event, Hooker “believes” his fellow countrymen will walk out with a commanding win. “He's my training partner, so I know how well he's trained, and prepared to defend his title. I believe he's gonna make it look fairly easy,” Hooker signed off.

Watch the LIVE coverage of 281 – Adesanya vs Pereira on Sony Sports Ten 2 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi) & Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels at 8:30 am IST on 13th November 2022.

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