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UFC Fight Night 204: Dan Hooker vs. Arnold Allen prediction, betting odds, preview

UFC Fight Night 204: Dan Hooker vs. Arnold Allen prediction, betting odds, preview

UFC Fight Night 204: Dan Hooker vs. Arnold Allen prediction, betting odds, preview 3

#8 ranked lightweight and fan-favorite fighter, Dan Hooker (21-11), will enter the octagon against the #7 ranked featherweight, Arnold Allen (17-1).

Dan Hooker is hoping a return to the featherweight division after fighting the who’s who of the lightweight division will jumpstart a long-desired title run by his sizable fanbase. Meanwhile, Arnold Allen is hoping a win over the highly popular and tough-nosed veteran will propel himself into title contention with an underlying transition away from a mild-manner unknown to a fighter that is viewed to be equals with the top of the stacked division.

Odds

Some bookmakers have set the fight as a pick’em in both directions, which infers the fight between Hooker and Allen will be a back and forth affair that equates to a highly-entertaining fight!

  • Hooker: -110
  • Allen: -110

Breakdown

Dan Hooker is an incredibly entertaining veteran. His style resembles that of the New Zealand culture, whereby he fights with an innate affinity for violence and getting to all-out wars. This style, of getting into wars, is far more indicative of what makes him such a good fighter, that is, his razor-sharp elbows, contrary to showcasing low fight IQ. These elbows, when in the pocket, are thrown with a combination of precision and damage which allows the 6’1 Hooker to have success in close range.

The ability to maximize the advantages of being the taller fighter is extended to his grappling and long-range attacks. For the former, the long limbs of Hooker naturally allow him to be a difficult component to take down. Combine the traditional difficulty in taking down taller opponents due to the ease of posturing with legitimate defensive skills, and the result is Hooker having an impressive 78% takedown defense. For the latter application of using his height advantage, Hooker has nice long-range attacks, ranging from traditional straight down the barrel punches to flying knees.

This large arsenal of strikes is not too surprising given Hooker is a tenured teammate and sparring partner of the current UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. The main issue Hooker has faced of late is allowing his opponent’s best attribute to overwhelm him – Islam’s submission game and Michael Chandler’s pressure-power combination – so, the question he will need to answer is if he combats the main weapon of Allen, if so, he will likely be able to make the bout into a true fight which is where he excels.

Allen is perhaps the best-kept secret of ranked fighters. What I mean by this is that when rankings of prospects are compiled, he often fails to be mentioned; moreover, when featherweights are discussed for potentially contending for the title, his name is often failed to be mentioned. The best rationale for this is twofold: first, the featherweight division is stacked with highly-popularized fighters; and second, Allen’s technical striking with a desire to grapple differs greatly from the other top-ranked prospects and featherweights having either an elite attribute and/or fan-friendly style. Regardless of him falling through the cracks, Allen’s attributes as a fighter cannot go overlooked because he is truly a legitimate top 10 ranked fighter in perhaps the strongest division in the UFC.

To best analyze his skill-sets inside the octagon, his last fight against fellow ranked featherweight, Sodiq Yusuff, can be done. In this bout, Allen showcased his technical striking of combining impressive movement on the feet with impressive hands, his most powerful being his left hook. Although the output was less than what I would prefer and brings forth a legitimate concern against opponents who put on constant pressure, as Hooker does, Allen’s combination of movement, power, chain wrestling, and strong fight IQ warrants the belief he will continue to have continued success the octagon – he is currently 8-0 in the UFC.

Prediction

On paper, Hooker’s ability to combat the takedown with having the anticipatory surplus in output would warrant the belief that he will have success in his first featherweight fight since 2016. The issue, for him, is that Allen has the advantage in defensive movement, speed, power, and grappling. Whether it be bouncing in and out to land powerful strikes or using striking to set up his grappling, Allen has the greater number of paths to victory in this matchup. For this reason, I am confidently picking Allen to win and continue his impressive undefeated streak inside the UFC.

Bet: Allen

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