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Poirier outlasts Hooker in tight fight in Las Vegas

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DUSTIN POIRIER punches Dan Hooker of New Zealand during UFC Fight Night at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via USA TODAY Sports)

AMERICAN Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier outlasted Dan “The Hangman” Hooker of New Zealand in a tight lightweight fight that went the full route of five rounds at the “UFC Fight Night” event held at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s APEX facility in Las Vegas on Sunday (Manila time).

Had his hands full in the opening two rounds, Mr. Poirier dug deep and jacked up his assault on Mr. Hooker the rest of the way to come out with a unanimous decision victory, 48-47, 48-47 and 48-46.

It was slugfest at the onset of the headlining fight, played anew sans spectators as part of health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The first two rounds had Mr. Hooker having some headway until Mr. Poirier gained further traction beginning in the third.

Sensing that his opponent was slowing down, the American moved to outwork the New Zealand fighter, successfully holding his own against the submission attempts of Mr. Hooker while also dishing out telling hits.

In the final round, Mr. Poirier made sure that the tide remained in his favor, throwing solid jabs and crosses en route to the hard-earned victory.

The triumph marked a successful return to winning by Mr. Poirier (26-6) after being submitted by reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in September last year.

“I’m happy with the win. It was a tough one against Dan. I put in the work and trusted my team and was able to pulled out one,” said Mr. Poirier after the win.

For Mr. Hooker (20-9), the defeat ended for him a three-fight winning streak.

Other winners at UFC Fight Night were welterweight Mike Perry over Mickey Gall by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 and 29-28) and heavyweight Maurice Greene against Gian Villante by third-round submission (arm-triangle choke).

Next for the UFC is “UFC 251” on July 12 on the “UFC Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.

It will be headlined by the welterweight title clash between reigning champ Kamaru Usman and challenger Gilbert Burns. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo





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