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UFC 281 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles: Which Fighter Is Drawing Dead? (Saturday, November 12)

UFC 281 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles: Which Fighter Is Drawing Dead? (Saturday, November 12) article feature image
Credit:

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Dan Hooker

  • Dan Hooker kicks off Saturday's UFC 281 PPV main card against lightweight Claudio Puelles.
  • Hooker is in a 1-4 skid but is a modest favorite against Puelles.
  • Below, Sean Zerillo looks at the matchup to determine which side is worth betting.

Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles Odds

Hooker Odds
-145
Puelles Odds
+125
Over/Under
2.5 (+120 / -150)
Venue
Madison Square Garden in New York City
Time
10 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN+ Pay-per-view
Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

The UFC 281 main card kicks off with a lightweight bout between Dan Hooker and Claudio Puelles.

Once a fast-rising contender in the division, Hooker’s now fighting for relevancy due to a 1-4 skid.

Can he get back his mojo on Saturday, or will Puelles push his current winning streak to six fights?

Tale of the Tape

Hooker Puelles
Record 21-12 13-2
Avg. Fight Time 9:46 10:57
Height 6’0″ 5’10”
Weight (pounds) 145 lbs. 155 lbs.
Reach (inches) 75″ 72″
Stance Switch Southpaw
Date of birth 2/13/1990 4/21/1996
Sig Strikes Per Min 4.91 1.99
SS Accuracy 47% 51%
SS Absorbed Per Min 4.81 2.89
SS Defense 51% 46%
Take Down Avg 0.89 2.74
TD Acc 36% 38%
TD Def 78% 60%
Submission Avg 0.2 1.4

Aside from leg locks, it’s difficult to see where Claudio Puelles has the advantage – or a path to victory – against Dan “The Hangman” Hooker.

Hooker is taller, longer (three-inch reach advantage), has faced far superior competition, and should have the takedown defense (78%) to keep this fight standing and piece up Puelles on the feet.

Hooker has seemed a bit shopworn in recent bouts, losing by quick knockout against Michael Chandler after a pair of wars against Paul Felder and Dustin Poirier. And he made an ill-advised decision to drop down to featherweight in March against Arnold Allen, where he looked incredibly slow and seemed unable to take damage.

Returning to 155 should suit him well. And facing a fighter like Puelles, who offers minimal power and prefers to attack the body with kicks, seems an ideal matchup for Hooker’s potentially declining durability.

Puelles has only a pair of knockouts on his career record, including a head kick and a cut stoppage; he is a submission specialist. And those submissions often come out of nowhere. Puelles is extremely opportunistic and tends to lose minutes in his fights until seizing an opportunity to submit his opponents.

Puelles isn’t great at securing takedowns (38% accuracy), but he does try to get his fights to the mat consistently (7.2 attempts per 15 minutes).

Hooker’s knees up the middle should be extremely effective if Puelles telegraphs his shots. Or he could look to lock in a guillotine.

And even if Puelles manages to take him down, I trust Hooker’s jiu-jitsu to keep him safe on the mat.

Hooker vs. Puelles Pick

Outside of a meme submission, Puelles may be drawing dead in this matchup.

I projected Hooker’s moneyline closer to -180, and I’m comfortable betting him up to that price point, which I would consider a break-even transaction.

Still, I feel that Hooker is getting underrated here off of a recent 1-4 run, with losses against four former or future title challengers (Islam Makhachev, Dustin Poirier, Chandler, Allen); Puelles represents a significant step down in competition relative to those fighters.

Hooker was a more substantial favorite against Michael Chandler (closed -165) than he is against Puelles.

And the one win in Hooker’s recent run (against Nasrat Haqparast) came after a significant step down in competition. Hooker dominated that fight from pillar to post. If he fights back to that level from last September, Hooker should dominate Puelles too.

Hooker wins by decision (projected +245, listed +250 at DraftKings) is the one prop offering value; however, I’ll stick with a moneyline wager at a far more significant edge.

The Pick: Dan Hooker (-145, 1u at DraftKings)

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