Monday, November 28, 2022

Hooker Lays Out How Oliveira Should Have Fought Against Islam

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker has sought to explain how Charles Oliveira could have avoided the “tactical failure” that led to his defeat at UFC 280.

This past weekend in Abu Dhabi, Oliveira had hoped to continue his impressive win streak and return to the 155-pound throne, which a weight miss prior to his win at UFC 274 had unseated him from.

Unfortunately for “Do Bronx,” the man looking to prevent him from doing so and bring his own “destiny” inside the Octagon to reality proved to be too much on the night. In the pay-per-view headliner, Islam Makhachev submitted the Brazilian via arm-triangle choke in round two.

As was the case with his previous outings, Oliveira once again found himself on his back following a knockdown. This time, though, his opponent was more than willing to enter his dangerous guard and pursue the finish.

Now, another victim of Makhachev’s rise has given his take on what Oliveira did wrong on October 22.

Hooker Pinpoints Oliveira’s “Tactical Failure”

During an appearance in The AllStar’s UFC 280 reaction and recap video, Hooker assessed how the headliner in his division played out.

Prior to facing Oliveira for the gold, Makhachev’s biggest scalp was his success against “The Hangman.” Once again in Abu Dhabi, the Russian submitted the New Zealander with a kimura in round one.

While he was finished faster than “Do Bronx” in his own outing opposite Makhachev, Hooker believes he’s identified what the former champion needed to do better in the UFC 280 main event.

Hooker began highlighting what he perceives to be a “tactical failure” on the part of Oliveira. While the #14-ranked lightweight acknowledged that the error existed in the Brazilian’s past wins, he believes that Makhachev had the style to truly exploit it.

“For mine, it was a highlighting of what I kind of leant towards in Oliveira’s run,” Hooker said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete and he’s in a good place right now and preparing incredibly well. But physically, I feel like a few of those fights you could see a visible — and it really shone itself in this fight — tactical failure. Even in those last few fights… where he gets dropped and comes back.

“That’s just his physicality, athleticism, and self-belief is through the roof, it’s in the stratosphere. That’s what got him in this position and had him with the title for this long and made the end of his run so phenomenal. But it really highlighted in this fight a tactical failure,” Hooker added. “His real tactics in this fight were not there. Him thinking that his belief in himself would overcome Islam.”

According to Hooker, Oliveira’s forward-pressure proved to be his downfall. Rather than constantly entering range and leaving himself open to strikes, “The Hangman” thinks that the submission specialist would have been best served maintaining distance.

“He just walked into range. He thought he could walk into range and eat the shots of Islam, but he couldn’t,” Hooker noted. “Islam caught him with a few of those punches and was able to drop him… I feel like if he would’ve kept his distance a little more, not pressure into range, and let Islam — essentially, if you pressure in like that, he’s letting Islam hit him.

“He should’ve been more tactical on the feet. That would’ve made Islam shoot from a little further out. What happens when someone shoots from further out? You get to set your frames and set your defense; makes those submission attempts a little easier to process,” Hooker continued. “For mine, it was a tactical failure for Oliveira.”

For Hooker’s part, he didn’t have too much of a chance to implement any sort of game plan in his short-notice outing with the now-lightweight king. When they collided at UFC 267, the New Zealander was stopped in less than three minutes.

Having shared the cage with Makhachev, perhaps Hooker is uniquely positioned to provide insight into how fighters can combat the Russian’s smothering sambo wrestling.

Do you agree with Dan Hooker’s assessment of Charles Oliveira’s defeat at UFC 280?

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.

Related