Felder vs Hooker Odds & Picks for UFC Fight Night 168

  • UFC Fight Night 168 takes place at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, this Saturday (Feb. 22) at 7:00 PM ET
  • With Paul Felder ranked No. 6 and Dan Hooker at No. 7, this bout determines who stays in the mix in the lightweight division
  • These two action fighters have 29 career stoppages between them

On Saturday, the UFC heads back to Auckland, New Zealand, for UFC Fight Night 168. The headlining bout sees Paul Felder face off against Dan Hooker in a lightweight contest. If you recall, Hooker called for a fight against Felder at UFC Fight Night 128 in April 2018. What made the callout interesting was that Felder was interviewing Hooker after Hooker knocked out Jim Miller. Felder was part of the UFC commentary team for that event. Felder was happy with the call out, and so the two meet in Auckland.

UFC Fight Night 168 streams in its entirety on ESPN+. The main card begins at 7:00 PM ET following prelims, which start at 4:00 PM ET.

FELDER VS HOOKER ODDS

Fighter Odds
Paul Felder +120
Dan Hooker -150

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 168 PREDICTION & PICK

My first prediction is that this fight will be in the running for a “Fight of the Night” bonus. Felder and Hooker are two of the toughest competitors in what is the deepest division in the UFC. I expect these two to deliver a very competitive and fan-friendly fight.

There is a good chance that it will go the distance and a better than average chance that both when will leave the cage bloodied and bruised. As for who will leave the octagon with the win, I believe that will be the local fighter.

Pick: Hooker (-150)

RECENT FIGHTS

Both Felder and Hooker are 5-1 in their six most-recent outings. Felder’s sole defeat during that run was a split-decision loss to Mike Perry. Not only did Felder take that fight on short notice, but he competed at welterweight. That’s just the kind of guy Felder is, he wants to fight and he doesn’t care who he faces.

The Philadelphia-born Felder scored three consecutive knockouts before losing to Perry. He won his two most recent bouts via decision. Felder’s most recent win came in a rematch with Edson Barboza, a fighter who always seems to be one fight away from a title shot.

After a 3-3 run at featherweight, Hooker decided to return to lightweight. The move did him good. He has gone 6-1 since then. The first five of those wins were stoppage victories. His most recent win was a unanimous decision triumph over former lightweight title challenger Al Iaquinta. Hooker’s only loss was a TKO setback to Barboza. Hooker showed his toughness in that matchup, taking a tremendous amount of damage before his body betrayed him in the third round.

WHO HAS THE EDGE?

As the odds indicate, this is a close fight. The reason I’m giving the nod to Hooker is that he has been red hot as a lightweight and because he is better statistically than Felder in almost every category. Hooker lands more knockdowns, has better striking accuracy and lands more strikes per minute. The New Zealander also has better takedown accuracy and takedown defense.

The only statistical category that Felder has an advantage in is strikes absorbed per minute. That’s not an insignificant stat. If Felder can stay more active and land more, he has a chance to win this bout. One of the barriers to Felder connecting is that he is at a 4.5-inch reach disadvantage.

BETTING VALUE WITH HOOKER

The goal of both of these men is to get a finish. Neither man thinks defense first, nor is either man afraid to take damage as long as they can get their hand raised. That makes for some risky betting. One thing to watch in this fight is that it’s the first five-round battle Hooker is in as a UFC competitor. Hooker recently told MMA Junkie he’s looking forward to the extra 10 minutes in this contest.

“That’s just more time for me. I don’t need to touch you once to take you out, so if you give me an extra 10 minutes, woo wee, I’m going to take my time,” said Hooker.

Despite Hooker’s confidence that he can finish Felder, the safe bet is for Hooker to win by decision. Felder’s only stoppage loss came via doctor stoppage.

FIGHT STATS: FELDER VS HOOKER

Paul Felder Category Dan Hooker
34 Age 30
17-4 Record 19-8
10 Knockout Wins 10
1 Submission Wins 7
6 Decision Wins 2
5’11” Height 6’0″
155 Weight 155
70″ Reach 75″
Orthodox Stance Southpaw
3.55 Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute 4.73
43% Striking Accuracy 44%
3.17 Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute 4.72
50% Striking Defense 55%
0.29 Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes 0.40
27% Takedown Accuracy 33%
59% Takedown Defense 78%
0.30 Submission Average Per 15 Minutes 0.4

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The next lightweight title fight takes place in April and the belief is that Conor McGregor will face the winner of that bout. With that, the winner of Saturday’s matchup will most likely land himself a title eliminator against someone like the No. 2 ranked Dustin Poirier or the No. 4-ranked Justin Gaethje.

Trent Reinsmith

Trent covers UFC and MMA for MTS. He currently covers MMA for MMA Junkie and Forbes. He has also written for Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively among others. He has been involved with MMA since he and some friends threw some money together to purchase the pay-per-view of UFC 1, and the rest is history.