UFC Vegas 82 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Chase Hooper vs. Jordan Leavitt: Expect ‘The Dream’ to Win on Damage (Saturday, November 18)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC lightweight Chase Hooper
Chase Hooper vs. Jordan Leavitt Odds
|Total (Over/Under)||2.5 rounds (-152 / +115)|
|Venue||UFC Apex – Las Vegas|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via BetRivers|
After alternating wins and losses at featherweight, Chase "The Dream" Hooper is looking to build some momentum in his newfound division of lightweight when he returns on Saturday at UFC Vegas 82.
Still just 24, he won his 155-pound debut in May after going 3-3 in the lighter 145-pound weight class.
On today's UFC Vegas 82 main card, he's fighting fellow grappler Jordan "The Monkey King" Leavitt in what looks to be an intriguing matchup between two fighters with similar skill sets and awkward styles.
Hooper is roughly a 2-1 favorite coming into the bout, but can he justify that price tag?
Here's my Hooper vs. Leavitt prediction and betting pick for UFC Vegas 82.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||11:31||7:25|
|Weight||155.5 pounds||155.5 pounds|
|Date of birth||9/13/1999||6/2/1995|
|Sig Strikes Per Minute||5.0||2.6|
|SS Absorbed Per Minute||3.7||1.9|
|Take Down Avg||1.5||2.3|
This is a southpaw-on-southpaw matchup between two fighters whose A-game is on the ground. Neither has much experience facing fellow lefties; Leavitt's two fights against southpaws were both largely grappling matches.
Which raises a lot of questions about Leavitt's striking. He won his last fight with a knockout from the clinch, and his previous victory came in a split decision against Trey Ogden.
Leavitt's best moments against Ogden came by winning the front-foot battle and chopping away with lead leg kicks – a much more challenging proposition against someone from the same stance.
Leavitt's standup technique is solid, but he lacks speed and explosiveness. He generally looks about half a second slower than his opponent when trading punches, hence the reliance on leg kicks at range. While he has two knockout victories in the UFC, one was a slam, and the other knees from the clinch.
— UFC (@ufc) November 14, 2023
Both of those were more a result of his grappling than striking.
He shines on the mat, though, with a variety of unorthodox submission attacks. He'll hunt for submissions from any position, pulling off the rare inverted triangle choke in a 2021 win.
He has his moments when wrestling, but his 26% takedown success rate is a good indicator of his abilities there. However, he's not opposed to pulling guard in order to get fights to the canvas.
Once there, he makes little to no effort to do damage with strikes. He managed over five minutes of control time against Ogden, and he attempted just two significant ground strikes while landing zero.
Instead, he looks to advance position and hunt submissions.
Which is a stark contrast to Hooper on the ground. The BJJ black belt seamlessly mixes submissions and damage with a style purpose-built for MMA. Hopper will roll for leg submissions like he's competing at ADCC – then bail and claim top position while raining down strikes if it doesn't work.
— UFC (@ufc) December 13, 2020
That's a big improvement from his early career, where he'd sacrifice position while hunting submissions – but lose rounds if the submission didn't come.
Hooper has a poor takedown success rate (22%) like Leavitt, though I'd give him a slight edge in the wrestling department.
Like Leavitt, he'll use unorthodox means to get the fight to the ground, largely the aforementioned rolling leg attacks against clinching opponents. He's also willing to accept takedowns from his opponents while generally ending up in the superior position.
Hooper's striking has shown massive improvements since his UFC debut at age 20 – and further improvement since moving up to lightweight. Even at 155, he's tall for the division, and he throws barrages of straight punches at range.
If the distance gets closed, he makes excellent use of elbow strikes at close range – a far better alternative than hamming himself up on short punches.
His high-volume approach seems like it should cause cardio issues, but so far that hasn't seemed to be the case. In his lightweight debut, he continued to throw at a high volume for 15 minutes, and I'm willing to trust his gas tank until proven otherwise – unlikely against a low-output fighter like Leavitt.
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Hooper vs. Leavitt Pick
While I may be overrating one fight at 155 pounds from Hooper, it's hard to see how Leavitt wins here. Hooper is the better striker by a long shot with his height and southpaw stance shutting down Leavitt's best options for attack.
On the ground, things should be much closer. Leavitt's awkward style can be a problem for anyone. However, it's hard to trust Leavitt's ability to get it there. Hooper's elbows from close range will make it hard for clinch takedowns, where Leavitt does better than shooting for leg takedowns.
More importantly, Leavitt's grappling style doesn't play well to the judges. Leavitt could very well rack up more positional advancements and submission attempts while losing the round based on more damage coming back from Hooper.
That's enough for me to lay the juice on Hooper's moneyline, especially with the discount we're seeing from earlier in the week.
No method or time of victory really stands out, so I'll take the Hooper moneyline straight up – down to -220.
The Pick: Chase Hooper (-205 at BetRivers)