Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker Odds, Pick, Preview: Underdog Has Huge Value at UFC 267

Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker Odds, Pick, Preview: Underdog Has Huge Value at UFC 267 article feature image
Credit:

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Islam Makhachev (left) and Dan Hooker.

  • Islam Makhachev is a massive favorite over Dan Hooker at UFC 267 on Saturday.
  • Hooker took this fight on one-month notice and could be in for three long rounds vs. Makhachev's wrestling.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the fight at 155 pounds and makes his betting pick below.

Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker Odds

Makhachev Odds
-650
Hooker Odds
+450
Over/Under
2.5 (-115 / -105)
Venue
Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi
Time
3:30 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute UFC odds here.

Islam Makhachev is a massive favorite to continue his ascension toward the top of the lightweight division on Saturday at UFC 267 against Dan Hooker.

Hooker last fought just five weeks ago, when he beat Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266. He took this fight on short notice when Rafael dos Anjos pulled out. Hooker has won four of six, but he took back-to-back losses against Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler before bouncing back last month.

Makhachev, meanwhile, has won eight straight fights in the UFC, including two this year by submission over Drew Dober and Thiago Moises. His suffocating wrestling could make this fight very one-sided.

Let’s break down where the value lies in this bout. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.

Tale of the Tape

Makhachev Hooker
Record 20-1 21-10
Avg. Fight Time 10:26 10:38
Height 5’10” 6’0″
Weight (pounds) 155.5 lbs. 156 lbs.
Reach (inches) 70″ 75″
Stance Southpaw Switch
Date of birth 10/27/91 2/13/90
Sig Strikes Per Min 2.24 4.95
SS Accuracy 58% 48%
SS Absorbed Per Min 0.77 4.66
SS Defense 70% 52%
Take Down Avg 3.31 0.91
TD Acc 65% 36%
TD Def 88% 80%
Submission Avg 1.0 0.2

Hooker is taking this featured matchup with the feared Makhachev on short notice, in a battle between the No. 5- and No. 6-ranked welterweight contenders.

I make Makhachev a healthy favorite (75%) and expect him to win this fight more than three out of four times, but I still show betting value on Hooker, who offers more finishing upside in this fight.

Makhachev’s striking metrics are a product of his dominant ground control game (3.31 takedowns per 15 minutes, 65% accuracy), where he smothers opponents, breaks them, and sometimes finishes them late.

His distance striking is competitive, but his offensive success is mostly a product of his opponents looking to defend takedowns, while Makhachev appropriately takes advantage upstairs. He’s also extraordinarily sound defensively (70% striking defense). He does well to keep himself out of danger in the pocket before shooting for a leg or clinching for a body lock setup.

Hooker has been in wars with the best Lightweights in the world and nearly came out on top against Poirier as a +185 underdog (35% implied) after winning the first two rounds of their 25-minute scrap.

So, why is he a +450 (18% implied) underdog now, against a lower-ranked fighter?

Many consider Makhachev the future 155-pound champion — if not already the uncrowned champion. Plenty of sharp bettors would favor him in a title fight against Poirier or Charles Oliveira, today.

Hooker’s takedown defense (52%) is historically poor — he hasn’t necessarily faced many elite-level grapplers — but he’s never been submitted in the UFC.

He can counter Makhachev’s takedown attempts with a guillotine or some big knees down the middle. Makhachev often looks dominant in victory, even when he doesn’t finish. He controls the majority of minutes in his fights and completely drains the clock.

Still, he’s been chin-checked multiple times with clean punches — including his only career loss — and Hooker will do everything that he can to make this fight competitive.

Hooker is very active on the bottom and will work to get back to his feet. While a takedown may not be the end of the round, the striking exchanges may still be relatively limited.

If he can use his size (2-inch height and 5-inch reach advantage) to keep the fight standing or chip away at Makhachev from a distance, he’s going to look like a massive value play.

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Makhachev vs. Hooker Pick

If Hooker wins this fight one out of every four times, you would need at least +355 (22% implied) to play him at an edge of three percentage points, and +450 (18% implied) is bordering on disrespectful.

Additionally, I project value on Hooker to win by KO/TKO (projected +635) or inside the distance (projected +576), and I sprinkled the latter.

The Pick: Dan Hooker (+450) | Hooker wins Inside the Distance (+750)

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