Poirier Sees Opponent Hooker As Undervalued In UFC Fight On Saturday

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The UFC returns to action this weekend in Las Vegas with a decent lineup of fights, highlighted by an exciting main event pitting Dustin Poirier against Dan Hooker in a lightweight bout that could determine who faces the winner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

Poirier (25-6) is coming off a submission loss against Nurmagomedov back in September, while Hooker (20-8) is the winner of three straight, with the last one being a split-decision victory over Paul Felder. Poirier was on a heater prior to challenging Nurmagomedov for the belt, while Hooker is 8-2 in his last 10 UFC fights.

Poirier’s strength of schedule, which includes a TKO win over Gaethje in April 2018, has made him the significant favorite at -225 at DraftKings, compared to Hooker’s +180. The two fighters are separated by just one year in age.

While their respective resumes might make it look like Hooker has some value, the MMA community appears pretty set on the idea of Poirier coming out on top in the five-round affair. Gaethje recently said that he’s banking on Poirier by KO/TKO.

At FanDuel, Poirer is +125 to win by that method. He’s +380 on points, a relatively large disparity between the two outcomes. Most fights end in a decision.

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Poirier warning people not to sleep on Hooker

According to Poirier, Hooker will try to fight from a distance, despite the fight being in the smaller cage. Hooker has a reach advantage.

“This guy is dangerous, he’s a top-five fighter for a reason,” Poirier told MMA Junkie. “I don’t like that fans are passing him over.”

Poirier said that the fight should remain on the feet, and sportsbooks are in agreement.

The line on a submission finish from either fighter is +480 at FanDuel.

If you’re looking to wager on the fight going the distance, the price is +230 on it going to the judges and -330 on there being a finish.

There could be some value on the +230 option, as the two men have just seven combined losses by finish in their long careers. However, if you want to bet on a decision, you might be better off betting on Poirier, the favorite, by decision at +380.

You can get Hooker by decision at +700, which is probably what you want to go with if you’re feeling an upset.

The thing to consider is the cage size, which reduces the benefits of Hooker’s longer frame.

According to ESPN, the smaller octagon is resulting in more finishes, though the sample size remains small.

From ESPN: “During three events at the Apex — with the 25-foot octagon, as opposed to a 30-footer — the finish rate is 54.5% (18 finishes in 33 fights). In comparison, the three events in Jacksonville, Florida, with the bigger cage had a finish rate of 46.9% (15 finishes in 32 fights).”

The results so far have made sense, as there tends to be more action.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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