The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
The most loaded card of the year is not limited to just exciting title fights. From the first fight to the last, this card brings the heat, so check out this fighter sure to get the fire started.
Nickname – The Dream
Affiliation – Combat Sport & Fitness
From – Enumclaw, Washington
Height – 6’1″
Weight – 145 lbs (Featherweight)
Record – 8-0-1 (0-0 UFC)
What makes him impressive
The short answer here is his ground work. He not only has sharp submissions, but uses his strikes well to set up positional advantages.
However, the much longer answer is the way that he improves. Every single time we’ve seen him come out, Hooper has looked head and shoulders better than his previous performance. Then he got his developmental contract with the UFC, which has allowed him to work out at the performance institute and get nutritional help. At only 20 years old, this is invaluable help for him, and he reports that he’s now bigger and stronger than ever. This in turn should make his grappling even easier than he already makes it look.
Why he has been overlooked
When he got his developmental deal at just 18 years old, there was plenty of hype behind him. He looked ready for the big show already and had an image dissimilar to most UFC fighters. Then his developmental deal took him out of the spotlight for awhile. Although this was likely the best for his development, it did wane the excitement on him a bit. A good performance here will likely pump that right back up though.
What makes this a good match-up
Daniel Teymur, similar to his brother, is known for his striking. In two of his three losses in the UFC, he was finished via rear naked choke. This is the type of matchup that Hooper needed to show off his skill. He’ll need to work to get Teymur to the mat in order to implement his gameplan, but with the extra muscle mass, he should be plenty strong and skilled to get it done.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 189-79-1 (2 NC) (7 DNF)
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