#KiwiUFC Dan Hooker Earned A Free Feed

 Would love free KFC snack boxes right now.

Would love free KFC snack boxes right now.

Given the #KiwiUFC vibes permeating over the festive period, Dan Hooker beating Marc Diakiese at UFC 219 just felt right. The fans in attendance and many neutral folk wouldn't have found much to absorb up to the point at which Hooker submitted Diakiese via a guillotine choke, yet from the #KiwiUFC perspective this was an intense encounter to watch.

It was intense because our cuzzie Hooker had to deal with Diakiese's rather extravagant striking and Hooker wasn't overly eager to engage with Diakiese in a striking battle. In hindsight, Hooker was cold and calculated but at the time it seem like Diakiese was going to string together a few hefty blows at some point and stamp his mark on the fight. 

Hooker was calculated though and early in the final round he pounced on a weird decision from Diakiese to attempt a takedown. This was weird because none of Diakiese's takedown attempts had a positive result and the first round finished with Hooker snuffing a takedown attempt, then swiftly turning that into a takedown of his own. An early takedown attempt played into Hooker's hands, so why Diakiese felt it was best to go for the takedown when trying to ramp up the intensity in the final round is rather crazy.

Diakiese went in for the kill in that final round, kinda wildly. He almost had as many strikes in the 40-odd seconds of the 3rd round as he had in each of the other rounds (28 in the 1st, 21 in the 2nd and 20 in the 3rd) as he opened up to get the win, which may have resulted in Hooker snapping up a similar opportunity as Diakiese got careless. Fortunately for Hooker he didn't have to wait long for Diakiese to get careless and he swiftly caught Diakiese's neck and wrapped it up.

Hooker was able to snuff that takedown by sliding his hips back and doing a great job of catching Diakiese as he attempted the takedown. This came after Hooker snuffed the takedown in the 1st round by widening his stance, dropping his hips:

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As a warning sign of what was to come, Hooker flips Diakiese's attempt into a takedown of his own just as he'll later flip a takedown attempt into the choke. His size and strength advantage saw him stand up, twist Diakiese and flow into a takedown:

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Hooker would have known that he could snuff any takedown attempt coming from Diakiese, from there he simply had to be patient, engage with Diakiese from a distance and not get caught up in flurries. The way Hooker pounced was bloody impressive and this ability to not only defend a takedown but instantly go on the attack with a counter was lovely to see, after seeing Hooker murk Ross Pearson with that knee.

Now Hooker wants a fight on the UFC card in Perth, which is on February 10th. Obviously this will be amazing as Hooker will join his homie Israel Adesanya, as well as Mark Hunt and Robert Whittaker in Perth but it's a teeny weeny window for the UFC to suss out an opponent for Hooker. 

Having seen Robert Whittaker get his belt and his first defence in Australia, then Mark Hunt pass the UFC's tests and get a new fight, then Adesanya getting a gig in the UFC, the momentum and #KiwiUFC vibes has me feeling as though Hooker will definitely get a fight in Perth. Low key, this feels like we are entering the real emergence of #KiwiUFC and 2018 may be the year that Aotearoa announced it's arrival on the UFC map.

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Peace and love 27.