Dan Hooker can thwart the wrestling of Islam Makhachev at UFC 267, says coach

Dan Hooker

UFC lightweight contender Dan Hooker can thwart the wrestling of elite grappler Islam Makhachev at UFC 267, says his coach, Frank Hickman.

When Rafael dos Anjos fell off of the UFC 267 card with an injury, Hooker stepped up on short notice to take on Makhachev, who is considered one of the most feared fighters in the UFC lightweight division. Just a week after he beat Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266, Hooker accepted the fight with Makhachev for the end of October on Fight Island. The oddsmakers are not particularly high on Hooker’s chances in the matchup, as he’s a big underdog.

As far as Hooker’s wrestling coach goes, he is confident that “The Hangman” can make like tough on Makhachev when the fight. Speaking to John Kyon Ko of The AllStar, Hickman — the assistant wrestling coach at City Kickboxing — explained why he believes Hooker will be able to have more success in the grappling department than many people believe.

“Everybody knows where he is good. Where he’s good, he’s good. But I think this is a great matchup for Dan. I think frame-wise, lankiness-wise, ability to scramble. It’s a good matchup. And I know that Islam is a heavy favorite but I reckon he hasn’t faced somebody with Dan’s caliber who can kinda like put everything together like Dan can. So this is going to be an interesting fight. Probably going to be a chess match type of a fight which most of them at this level are especially when you get to that top ten, top eight echelon of these weight classes,” Hickman said.

After exhibiting tremendous offensive wrestling skills in his last fight against Haqparast, it will be interesting to see how Hooker’s defensive wrestling holds up against Makhachev. We know he’s an elite striker in the UFC lightweight division, but if Hooker wants to upset the apple cart and beat Makhachev, then his takedown defense will have to be on point.

Do you think Dan Hooker can thwart the wrestling of Islam Makhachev at UFC 267?

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