#KiwiUFC Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker Both Win

 The boys.

The boys.

On the back of Joseph Parker getting his first sniff of big time boxing, the past week signals the opening ceremony of a rather exciting period for kiwi fighting. Aotearoa has always had a presence in the upper echelons of boxing or mixed martial arts - which in itself is kinda crazy given Aotearoa's size but not all that crazy given our sporting abilities - and now that we've enjoyed wins from stablemates Dan Hooker and Israel Adesanya in the space of a week, Aotearoa could make a serious case for being pound for pound, the best fighting nation in the world.

At UFC Atlantic City, Hooker delivered a crunching knee to the jaw of Jim Miller in the first round of their lightweight bout. This was Hooker's third win in a row and those three wins have come since Hooker moved up to the lightweight division, those three wins have also come via finishes; two knee KOs and a submission.

Even more impressive was the fact that Hooker did this in Miller's backyard and there was a creepy silence after Hooker connected with his knee as the crowd pondered a possible end to Miller's OG career. Watching Hooker respectfully move away with minimal celebrations was also rather creepy, like a martial arts assassin Hooker got the job done and there wasn't much fuss to his work.

Hooker threw a few knees in that first round and generally controlled much of the fight with his reach advantage keeping Miller at a distance. Miller did however take Hooker down and even then, Hooker still maintained control from his back, doing a fine job to get back to his feet. It felt like so much happened in those 3 minutes, at the same time Hooker showcased the same calculated, clinical striking of Adesanya, patiently waiting for an opportune moment to genuinely connect with his right knee.

Adesanya's striking was again on display in his points decision win over Marvin Vettori a week earlier at the UFC on Fox 29 in Glendale. Following Adesanya has and will continue to be all about the journey, the process of Adesanya moving through the levels of the UFC and although this wasn't a flashy, headline snatching win from Adesanya, he went to another level in working through a situation he didn't experience in his first UFC fight.

Adesanya went three rounds with Vettori and got a taste of those depths, even saying how fresh he felt in the final round. That final round was when Vettori did manage to take Adesanya down and this was another nice little challenge for Adesanya as he had to deal with Vettori on the canvas. Known as a striker, Adesanya showed that he's got the tools to be able to continue his ground game as he keeps moving through these levels and while his striking did the damage in the first two rounds, being able to restrict the damage from Vettori when a slither of momentum fell Vettori's way, also helped seal the win.

Now 2-0, Adesanya waits for his next opponent, his next chance to level up. That could be Brad Tavares who is ranked #10 in the middleweight division (Adesanya's not ranked right now). Hooker is also looking to book his next fight against a ranked fighter as he called out Paul Felder, in true kiwi fashion;

Felder is ranked #14 in the lightweight division and if we can get both Adesanya and Hooker against ranked fighters in their next outings, this will signal another leap forward for #KiwiUFC. While we await news on their next encounters, we have the rematch between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero at UFC 225 on June 9th to prepare for. 

Australian fighter Tai Tuivasa is also down to fight Andrei Arlovski at UFC 225, plus Tyson Pedro will fight a few weeks later at UFC Fight Night 132 against Ovince Saint Preux. It's safe to say that the Oceania UFC takeover is underway and over the past week, Hooker and Adesanya have taken #KiwiUFC to new heights.

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Peace and love 27.