Haqparast vs Hooker Full Fight UFC 266 Part III

  • Posted on Sep 26, 2021
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What a wild, crazy ride Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast had heading into UFC 266.

First, Hooker took to social media to implore the New Zealand government to expedite his visa, lest he miss the fight. Then, Germany’s Nasrat Haqparast had to do the same. Both fighters arrived in Vegas at the last minute, but both managed to make weight for the lightweight fight.

With the fight finally arriving Saturday, Hooker held center, with Haqparast circling on the outside. The first half of the round if not more would play out like this; Hooker looked to find a way in, or cut off the cage, while Haqparast countered, looking to explode in. This led to something of a chess match, low on exchanges, with strikes coming in short bursts more often than not. At the end of the round, Hooker went after a takedown; it wasn’t there, but he did finish off the frame firing a heavy knee to the body.

Round two saw more clinch work by the cage as Hooker worked to take his opponent down. Haqparast’s takedown defense was admirable, but he was also vulnerable to another big knee from Hooker. After that, business picked up, with Haqparast and Hooker both having moments on the feet. Later in the round, Hooker, who controlled most of the action, finally got the fight down, firing knees to the thigh of Haqparast on the ground.

Aside from a low blow on Haqparast that halted the action in the third round early, it played out in similar fashion to the second. Only, Hooker got the fight to the ground much earlier. Hooker worked from side control, and Nasrat Haqparast appeared lost off his back. He couldn’t scramble, wasn’t in position for much in the way of submissions, and even trying to buck Hooker off didn’t give him enough space to scramble out. Eventually, he gave up his back to Hooker, but “The Hangman” wasn’t exactly in his element grappling, and Haqparast almost escaped. Hooker would take the fight back down, however, and it would end there.

For Hooker, the win snaps a two-fight skid. Just getting to UFC 266, with the bureaucratic red tape, was a win, but he also showed a few new wrinkles in his game.

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