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Dan Hooker and Marc Diakiese ready to square off in feature lightweight bout at UFC 219

Dan Hooker and Marc Diakiese ready to square off in feature lightweight bout at UFC 219

Marc Diakiese inside the UFC's Octagon

In the third bout of UFC’s marquee end of the year PPV event, we see two very talented strikers clash in a battle to move further up the crowded lightweight rankings. All of the recent hype has been on Marc Diakiese’s flashy striking style and highlight reel knockouts while Dan Hooker’s rise has been a lot more under the radar for the average UFC fan.

In Diakiese’s last fight we saw him lose a razor close split decision to Drakkar Klose in which the previously undefeated phenomenon looked vulnerable for the first time in his career. This, however, has made Diakiese go back to the drawing board and examine everything he did wrong and pick out what areas of his game he needed to improve. While Diakiese still disputes the decision in his last fight, he has acknowledged how he wasn’t properly defending himself against pinpoint calf kicks that dropped him and limited his mobility. Now, Diakiese feels very confident and ready to outclass an “average” Dan Hooker. He vows to dominate Hooker then be ready to feature on the upcoming UFC London card.

Dan "Hangman" Hooker

In Hooker’s last bout we saw him achieve a career-best win over the very experienced British fighter Ross Pearson. He showed great technical Muay Thai, peppering his opponent with crisp blows until he landed a highlight reel knee to finish off the tough and durable Pearson. To add icing on the cake, this was done in his native Auckland, New Zealand in front of a passionate crowd going ecstatic. This win allowed the “Hangman” to set himself up for a fight with the exciting Marc Diakiese. When asked about Diakiese’s striking style, Hooker referred it as “smoke and mirrors” in order to please the crowd and judges. Also worth noting, Dan Hooker has experience with a flashy sort of style due to one of his main training partners being the new UFC asset Israel Adesanya. Hooker has also fought better competition than Diakiese during his tenure in the UFC with names such as Yair Rodriguez, Jason Knight, and the previously mentioned Ross Pearson.

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As for my personal prediction for this bout, I believe that this will be a very even matchup with both fighters having their moments in the fight. Even though we saw Diakiese lose his last bout, he showed very solid grappling skills that he has honed during his time training at American Top Team. I do believe that Diakiese has the grappling advantage over Hooker and this will definitely help during a three-round fight. However, it has been shown that leg kicks can neutralize Diakiese’s flashy, explosive style. I believe that Diakiese will win via unanimous decision, but Hooker will definitely provide a tough test for the up and coming “Bonecrusher” Marc Diakiese.

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