Nasrat Haqparast vs Dan Hooker Full Fight UFC 266 Part I

  • Posted on Sep 26, 2021

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Hell and high water came, but Dan Hooker walked away victorious when all was said and done.

At UFC 266, Hooker (21-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) defeated Nasrat Haqparast (13-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) to pick up his first victory since February 2020.

The lightweight bout was part of the event’s preliminary card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on ESPNews following early prelims on ESPN+ and ahead of the main card on pay-per-view.

Haqparast and Hooker nearly didn’t make it to fight week when they each experienced visa issues days prior to their bout. However, both guys ultimately made it in time for Friday’s weigh-ins, where they hit their mark ahead of the fight. In addition to the travel adversity, Haqparast experienced the death of his mother during his fight camp preparation for the bout.

The poor travel experience, paired with difficulties training during the New Zealand lockdown caused Hooker to consider moving his training camp to the United States for his next fight.

When the fight finally began, Hooker came out of the gates aggressively. For the entirety of 15 minutes, he’d lead the dance. Haqparast had his moments, as two-punch combinations occasionally slipped through Hooker’s guard. Other than the occasional crack, however, the fight was controlled on the feet and on the ground by Hooker.

The majority of the first two rounds took place on the feet where Hooker won the technical striking battles with a variety of punches, kicks, and his vintage knees. In Round 3, Hooker resorted to his wrestling as he took Haqparast down multiple times. The buzzer sounded while Hooker landed strikes from the top in the crucifix position.

After the fight, Hooker called for a fight against fellow lightweight contender Beneil Dariush (21-4-1 MMA, 15-4-1 UFC), who currently does not have a bout on the books.

With the win, Hooker gets back into the win column following back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler. The 31-year-old moves to 4-2 in his most recent six with his other victories coming against James Vick, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder.

As for Haqparast, the loss snaps a two-fight winning streak that included unanimous decision victories against Rafa Garcia and Alex Munoz. Since his UFC debut, Haqparast had only lost one other time – a knockout suffered against Drew Dober.

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