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It started with a verbal agreement. Al Iaquinta and Dan Hooker have since signed on the dotted line, formalizing their lightweight clash inside the Octagon. This is a big step up in competition for the 15th-ranked Kiwi, who had long expressed his desire to fight at UFC Australia. He got his wish in the form of “Raging Al,” who is eager to bounce back from a decision loss to Donald Cerrone and move further up in the rankings. This is an electrifying scrap for the ages, as indicated by the numbers below.
Octagon recordThere isn't much that separates Iaquinta and Hooker in terms of UFC experience. Iaquinta entered The Ultimate Fighter 15, made his way to the finals, and officially made his promotional debut on June 1, 2012. He has since fought 12 times in the UFC and now owns a promotional record of 9-4. Raging Al holds victories over top-level fighters such as Jorge Masvidal, Diego Sanchez, Joe Lauzon and Kevin Lee.
Hooker made his Octagon debut on June 28, 2014, two years after Iaquinta. The event was UFC Fight Night 43, and this was followed by 11 more Octagon appearances. Hooker sports a UFC record of 8-4, with wins over the likes of Jim Miller, James Vick and Gilbert Burns.
UFC headlinersIaquinta's last three fights were scheduled main events. At UFC 223, he figured in a title showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov as a replacement for Max Holloway, who was, himself, a replacement for Tony Ferguson. After that, he rematched Kevin Lee at UFC on Fox 31. His most recent fight was another five-rounder, this time opposite Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 151, with “Cowboy” coming out on top. For Hooker, this will be the first time he will headline a UFC card.
Wins by knockoutHooker has sent 10 opponents to the canvas since his debut 10 years ago. He compiled four pre-UFC KOs or TKOs and has since starched six additional opponents inside the Octagon, namely Vick, Burns, Miller, Ross Pearson, Hatsu Hioki and Ian Entwistle.
Iaquinta owns seven victories by KO or TKO. Like Hooker, he has scored more knockouts in the Octagon than outside of it. These came against Sanchez, Lauzon, Pearson and Rodrigo Damm.