The always interesting Chase Hooper, holding a professional record of 10-2-1, is looking to re-enter the win column after a decision loss in his last bout. Similarly, Felipe Colares, holding a professional record of 10-3, is looking to re-enter the win column after a tough defeat last time around.
Both Hooper and Colares have had up and down performances within their brief UFC tenure, largely via a decision-type of loss. Knowing each has come up short when the fight goes to the scorecards, and, knowing each has a variety of finishing tactics in their fight arsenal results in having the presumption that this fight is bound to end before the 15-minute mark ensues.
For the first time in his UFC career, Felipe Colares is priced as the favorite, coming in at -160 over the young Chase Hooper.
Chase Hooper, comically known as “Ben Askren’s son”, is a young and slowly improving fighter. The improvement seen thus far in the octagon is relatively bleak, particularly within the striking department, as he is well-below average on the feet when compared to fighters around his same ranking. But, if the fight hits the mat, Hooper is extremely dangerous no matter the position. This danger rationalizes him entering the UFC at just 20 years old, and, explains how he has had positive moments in the octagon.
A significant issue Hooper has, beyond the well below average striking, is finding difficulty in getting the fight to the ground, as he has a bleak 18% takedown success rate thus far in the UFC. The inability to successfully wrestle accompanied by the inability to chain grappling off of successful striking leaves a massive gap in Hooper’s game. This large gap has afforded less than stellar opponents to find significant success against him. So, Hooper will need to show a far better attack, whether it be striking or wrestling, if he desires to win this fight, as the threat of submissions is a moot point if the fight stays standing.
While Hooper is a “specialist”, Colares has showcased a greater well-roundedness thus far in the UFC. The issue with categorizing a fighter as being well-rounded is the degree of skill relative to the well-rounded traits. Put bluntly, Alexander Volkanoski’s well-rounded skillset is far different from that of the type of well-rounded skillset of Colares – this may seem cognitively simple, but is a point needing to be understood when assessing this fight and others to come.
When assessing the fight arsenal of Colares, perhaps the best attribute he has showcased thus far is a combination of pressure and toughness. Being able to walk down fighters, cut distance, and inflict powerful attacks, both with punches and kicks, particularly to the body, is the best of Colares. The worst of Colares is looking quite clunky and lacking sound fight intelligence when marching down his opponent, as he wears too much damage and throws with too much power – negates his gas tank.
Having a pressure style affords Colares opportunities to land takedowns during the fight, and although he has shown a fairly solid ground game on the mat, he has trouble successfully securing his own takedown while simultaneously affords takedowns by his opponent. So, in this fight, Colares will need to show better attention to combating the takedown of his opponent because although Colares has shown a sound ground game, the presumption is that Hooper’s submission game will greatly supersede that of Colares.
The style of the fight should be relatively easy to predict, as Colares will pressure Hooper early on. Meanwhile, Hooper will look to use his off-brand Stephen Thompson footwork to keep distance and look for a takedown. Ultimately, I expect the pressure and body attack of Colares will supersede the movement of Hooper. And, knowing Hooper’s takedowns are less than superb, Colares should be able to keep the fight standing for most of the scheduled duration. With all that said, it takes one mental slipup from Colares for Hooper to win, but, I believe the probability of the slipup occurring is less than the implied win-probability associated with a -160 price, so, I am backing Colares in this matchup.