UFC on ESPN+ 26, is taking place in Auckland, New Zealand. Paul Felder and Dan Hooker will be headlining for this main event. On February 22, you will get to see the aggressive Felder enter Hooker’s hometown in what seems to be a hostile environment for Felder and a home field advantage for Hooker.
Felder Vs. Hooker Odds
My Bookie has the odds for this main event currently at:
- Felder: +105
- Hooker: -135
*odds subject to change
“The Irish Dragon” Paul Felder (17-4-0) is currently sixth best in the lightweight division. Considered a fan favorite for this one, he will be expected to show his aggressive fighting style that fans love to see. He has 10 of his wins by knockout and an impressive 44% striking accuracy to prove his ability as a striker.
Felder is steady at landing 3.53 significant strikes a minute while taking in 3.08. For someone that is aggressive and strike happy as Felder, he actually has a good balance here. He would potentially be more dangerous if his defense was higher, and could have a better striking ratio.
“The Hangman” Dan Hooker (20-8-0) is currently seventh best in the lightweight division. He had previously fought in the heavyweight division, and eventually moving classes to the lightweight. He also has 10 wins by knockout and a very similar striking accuracy of 43%. Based on where the fight is at, he will definitely have the crowd on his side in his hometown. This may lead him to being more motivated, if possible, to put on a good show for his people.
One thing that bothers me is that Hooker lands 4.35 significant strikes a minute and receives nearly 5.13 a minute. This may be a representation of his early career stats, but he will need to be smart when fighting against Felder, since according to his stats, he tends to get hit a bit more than he delivers. He has made it this far to get good quality knockout wins.
Main Event Winner
Both of these fighters have the potential to be at the top of their division. If the lightweight division was not as stacked as it was already, you could argue that these two could be in the top five.
The fight between these two could be the fight of the night. We have very similar records and styles going against each other. Felder taking on a taller Hooker and Hooker having a five inch reach difference is making Felder look like an underdog. Not to forget that the event is also in Hooker’s hometown.
This fight I believe will go the distance. Felder has the aggressive characteristics to take the fight to anyone and Hooker has something to prove. Hooker has the reach advantage and could keep his distance if needed. This fight should be a standup battle between these two, and if that is the case then the advantage should favor Felder.