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UFC 266 results: Dan Hooker calls out Beneil Dariush after dominating Nasrat Haqparast to win lopsided decision

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UFC 266: Hooker v Haqparast Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Dan Hooker faced an ordeal just to get to UFC 266 on Saturday night but he made the most of his trip after winning a lopsided decision over Nasrat Haqparast.

Thanks to travel restrictions and awaiting a visa approval, Hooker didn’t arrive in Las Vegas until late Thursday night but he still made weight and then put on a strong performance over all three rounds against Haqparast on the preliminary card.

When it was over, the scores read 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 with Hooker scoring the victory.

While he certainly faced his own struggles to make it to the fight, Hooker paid homage to Haqparast, who dealt with his own problems getting to the fight after he returned home to German following the tragic death of his mother just recently.

“There was a lot of challenges to get in here tonight but nothing compared to what Nasrat faced,” Hooker said. “It’s incredible that he showed up. My journey was very easy compared to him.”

Hooker was aggressive from the start as he stalked Haqparast around the octagon while using his long reach to keep his opponent on the end of his punches. In return, Haqparast was setting up a big overhand left followed by a right hook behind it that clipped Hooker a couple of times in the opening round.

While Haqparast was arguably landing the harder shots, he wasn’t throwing with as much volume and that allowed Hooker to set his own pace as he worked from the outside. Hooker also started throwing a well-timed head kick that forced Haqparast to defend with his left hand, which stopped him from launching his signature punch with as much force.

After landing a couple of thudding knees, Hooker then dipped inside to toss Haqparast to the ground with a great body lock takedown. From there, Hooker maintained his position as he dug to Haqparast’s body with a series of knee strikes.

With five minutes remaining, Haqparast came out more aggressive in an attempt to stage a comeback but Hooker was quick to slow him down by bringing the fight to the ground. Hooker was methodical while peppering away with short elbows and punches with Haqparast just stuck underneath him until the fight came to a close.

Now back in the win column with a statement performance at UFC 266, Hooker is taking aim at the top of the lightweight division after calling out Beneil Dariush for his next fight.

“I heard Dariush is looking for a fight,” Hooker shouted. “I’m your man, friend, if you wanna go. You’re a coward if you duck me!