UFC on ESPN Paul Felder vs. Dan Hooker - FREE Picks

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

By Abe Chong
UFC on ESPN+ 26 Paul Felder vs. Dan Hooker

No. 6 lightweight Paul Felder (17-4, 10 KOs, 1 SUB) will meet rising New Zealander Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (19-8, 10 KOs, 7 SUBs) at UFC on ESPN+ 26 on Saturday, February 22 at the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. The card streams live starting at 7pm ET.

Bet UFC Fight Night: 168 Felder vs. Hooker

UFC Fight Night: 168 Felder vs. Hooker
Main Card (ESPN+)
Paul Felder vs. Dan Hooker - Lightweight
Jimmy Crute vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk - Light Heavyweight
Ben Sosoli vs. Marcos Rogério de Lima - Heavyweight
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Yan Xiaonan - Women's Strawweight
Magomed Mustafaev vs. Brad Riddell - Lightweight
Kevin Aguilar vs. Zubaira Tukhugov - Featherweight
Preliminary Card (ESPN)
Preliminary card (ESPN+)
Jake Matthews vs. Emil Weber Meek - Welterweight
Callan Potter vs. Song Kenan - Welterweight
Kai Kara-France vs. Tyson Nam - Flyweight
Maki Pitolo vs. Takashi Sato - Welterweight
Priscila Cachoeira vs. Shana Dobson - Women's Flyweight

Dan Hooker is coming home to carry a UFC Fight Night card - and possibly inject himself into the title mix. This Saturday, “The Hangman” fights in his hometown of Auckland in a main event matchup against Paul Felder. There’s a lot on the line here, as both men are both seeking entrance into a highly competitive top 5.

Felder has won five straight fights at 155 pounds, excluding a welterweight excursion against Mike Perry where he stepped in on late notice. Most recently, the color commentator eked out a split decision win in a rematch against Edson Barboza. That’s a big deal: beating Barboza has been a prerequisite for anyone hoping to get a title shot. Beating Hooker would bring his record to 8-2 in his past 10.

UFC Fights

Hooker started his UFC career as a featherweight, where he had mixed results. But he’s found his groove since returning to lightweight, ripping off a 6-1 record in two years. A loss to Edson Barboza was ugly, as the Brazilian hammered Hooker’s body to the point where he couldn’t stand up straight. But he’s distanced himself nicely since then, with consecutive wins over James Vick and Al Iaquinta.

The UFC odds at Betcris opened with Hooker as a slight -132 favorite, with Felder at +115 on the comeback. But let’s take a look at the online sportsbook and break down your best betting values. Live UFC betting is available during the fight, with real-time line updates.

UFC on ESPN+ 26 UFC Odds at Betcris

UFC on ESPN+ 26 Odds
Dan Hooker -145
Paul Felder +115
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +125 / -165

Significant Striking Stats

UFC on ESPN+ 26 Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Felder 3.53 / Hooker 4.35
Striking accuracy: Felder 43% / Hooker 43%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Felder 3.08 / Hooker 5.13
Striking defense: Felder 50% / Hooker 54%

Betcris offers play-by-play betting odds for live sporting events every day! The user-friendly wagering interface on your smartphone provides an easy way to place bets on the go. Mobile betting lines are updated by the minute, so click here to start gambling on thrilling live action at Betcris!

Grappling Stats

UFC on ESPN+ 26 Grappling Stats
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Felder 0.32 / Hooker 0.47
Takedown accuracy: Felder 33% / Hooker 37%
Takedown defense: Felder 59% / Hooker 77%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Felder 0.32 / Hooker 0.47

Despite reaching his athletic peak, Felder continues to add layers to his game. There’s not much noteworthy about his early UFC fights, but he’s since evolved into an exciting action fighter known for his spinning attacks. At the same time, his work as a ringside analyst seems to have upped his in-fight IQ, as Felder has a good sense of whether he’s winning or losing a fight - and makes adjustments as needed. Though he’s at his best on the feet or in the clinch, Felder is well-rounded enough to deploy diverse gameplans depending on his opponent.

Hooker has followed a similar path to Felder. His UFC start wasn’t anything special, and The Hangman looked like another fighter to throw onto the prelims of an Oceania card. But the 29-year old has found a good deal of success by upping his aggression and beating a growing number of opponents into submission. Though Barboza exposed his lack of athleticism, Hooker’s grueling, punishing style puts his foes into a meat grinder.

This is a matchup of two extremely aggressive fighters with fearless striking - a recipe for fireworks. On paper, Hooker is younger, bigger and more powerful. Felder is more diverse with greater experience against a higher level of competition. There’s a reason that the odds are so close here - it’s easy to make the argument for either fighter.

UFC Odds Pick: Felder to win at +115

We like Felder as a slight underdog. In a five-round fight, we lean on his IQ and well-rounded skill set. Felder just figures out ways to win, whether it’s leg kicks against James Vick, a clinch war with Charles Oliveira or going for broke against Barboza. Hooker is more reliant on imposing his style, and his inability to adjust is what will ultimately cause his loss. The first few rounds are going to be extremely close, but Felder will do enough to win on points.

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