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This is an excellent fight and one that will really test Islam Makhachev, as Dan Hooker is one the best fighters in the division. The one thing that keeps racing in my head is if Makhachev is going to succeed in taking Hooker down. While many people are quick to think yes, I’m not entirely sure it will be as easy as we believe. For one, Hooker is third all-time in the Lightweight division regarding takedown defense, checking in at 90.5%. Two, Hooker hasn’t been taken down more than once in his last eleven fights. While those are impressive marks, I could see the other side of the argument. Makhachev is not only a whole different animal, but he is the best wrestler that Hooker has ever faced.

As for a prediction, I have Makhachev. While I do think Hooker will have his moments, the Russian is too well rounded and too cerebral. Makhachev not only can hold his own on the feet, but his wrestling abilities are head and shoulders above anyone in the division. With a 65.7% takedown accuracy, Makhachev already is second all-time in the Lightweight division. While I can see that number fall a bit due to Hooker’s stout takedown defense, as the fight wanes, the grind of Makhachev will wear on Hooker. From there, Makhachev will take over and defeat Hooker via decision.

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