UFC: Dan Hooker v James Vick - Live updates

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Dan Hooker v James Vick - Hooker wins via first-round TKO

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A clearly relieved Hooker has his hand raised, stating he'd never trained as hard as he had for this one "because you can't mess with Texas". The crowd's well and truly won over.

The Kiwi makes his intentions clear - he wants to be on the UFC 243 card in October in Australia with his teammate Israel Adesanya. How could you possibly deny him after that?

Round one - Hooker pressing early, hunting leg kicks. A couple land, Vick replies with a few of his own. Hooker stalks, throws some heat with heavy one-two that finds it target. Vick responds with a straight right that's on the money. BANG! Huge right hand from Hooker after faking with the left drops Vick to the canvas. He swarms with shots from the top and this one is over! 

2;30pm - Hooker looking as composed and focused as ever as Bruce Buffer launches into his introduction, NZ flag hanging behind him.

2:28pm - Adverts rob us of the Hooker Octagon entrance, but we did hear a new walk-out song selection in 50 Cent's 'Many Men', replacing his standard 'Runnin'' by Kiwi MC David Dallas.

2:27pm - Nine straight decisions to start this card to set a new UFC record. Here's hoping Hooker can buck that trend.

2:25pm - The pre-fight hype package rolls. Hooker's eager to "wash the bad taste" of defeat out of his mouth left by his lopsided defeat to Edson Barboza. The Aucklander is "ready to go to war".

2:20pm - The Kiwi is up next, people! Stay tuned for the return of 'The Hangman'.

Franciso Trinaldo v Alexander Hernandez - Hernandez wins via unanimous decision

Wow. Even Hernandez was shocked he earned that decision.

Round three - Trinaldo clips Hernandez to open the third and final stanza. This fight is anyone's for the taking. Trinaldo slips after throwing a kick, Hernandez unable to capitalise. The Brazilian remains the aggressor, that may be enough to get his hand raised in what's been a lacklustre affair. 

Round two - A lot of mutual respect for each other's power here, both fighters maintaining their distance. Brief clinch, Trinaldo lands inside to open a cut below the left eye of Hernandez. The Brazilian controlling the centre of the Octagon, pressing all of the action. Crowd becoming restless here, this one has been surprisingly light on activity. Body kick to finish should secure the round for Trinaldo.

Round one - Hometown kid Hernandez gets a rousing ovation during the Buffer introduction. 'The Kid' has plenty of hype behind him and he's made a measured start here, looking to establish his range. Hernandez so quick when he looks to close the gap, but it's a patient and cautious beginning from both fighters. Slight edge to Hernandez.

Andrei Arlovski v Ben Rothwell - Arlovski wins via unanimous decision

Round three - Rothwell needs a finish here, likely well behind on the scorecards. Finds enough gas to enforce a takedown but it's all too brief, Arlovski quickly to his feet. Both men swing for the fences as the fight draws to a close, Rothwell plants a couple but it Arlovski claims a few more and it appears he'll get the nod here.

Round two - Arlovski with more success to start the round, landing leg kicks and doing damage in the clinch. Rothwell slowing down but his opponent shows no such signs, the work rate remaining high until the round closes to make it two in the bag.

Round one - These two first fought 11 years ago. Yeesh. Arlovski showing a speed advantage early, fast hands in some decent combos finding their mark. Rothwell offering little bar a couple of blitzes, staggered by one heavy straight right from Arlovski who's throwing with high volume and variety. Big round for the Russian. Rothwell's face bruised and bloodied already.

1:20pm - Here we go, main card action about to get underway. The undercard was more like underwhelming, each of the bouts going the distance in fairly uninspiring fashion. But if I were a betting man, I'd put money on these two big rigs 
ending that streak.

Kia ora and welcome to live coverage from the AT&T Center in San Antonio as New Zealand's own Dan 'The Hangman' Hooker takes on American James Vick.

It's just one of a host of intriguing bouts on the card, which is headlined by a welterweight clash between Rafael Dos Anjos and Leon Edwards.

Fight-by-fight coverage will start from around 1pm (NZT), with Hooker expected to be in action around 2pm.

 

Head to head betting odds:

Dan Hooker - $1.72                              James Vick - $2.03

Andrei Arlovski - $2.35                          Ben Rothwell - $1.53

Alexander Hernandez - $1.47                Francisco Trinaldo - $2.55

Greg Hardy - $1.78                               Juan Adams - $1.95

 

Pre-match banter

Kai Kara-France eyes next challenge

By Brad Lewis

New Zealand's Kai Kara France will do business as usual, when he fights Mark de la Rosa inside the UFC Octagon in August.

The flyweight is undefeated as a UFC fighter, with two wins from two, after being signed by company president Dana White just over a year ago.

Kara-France's recruitment came off an impressive five-fight win streak, dating back to 2016, while City Kickboxing teammate Israel Adesanya also pressed White to sign the 26-year-old.

But France isn't daunted by the expectation or pressure that comes with being a UFC fighter - in fact, the 26-fight veteran has thrived.

"I knew it would always happen, but I feel all the highs and lows that I have had in my career really prepared me for the UFC," France told the Fight Club Podcast.

"I know New Zealanders expect big things from me, given the success of Israel [Adesanya] and Dan [Hooker], but I am just taking it as it comes.

"I don't overthink anything - I just put my head down and get to work, and before you know it, it's fight week, and you go out there and do what you have been doing in training."

That attitude came to the fore in Kara-France's last outing in Melbourne earlier this year, when he won a split-decision call over highly regarded Brazilian Raulian Paiva.

Paiva came into the fight riding a three-year, 12-fight win streak and thought of as a potential flyweight title challenger, if he could get past the Kiwi.

But Kara-France imposed his will on the fight, surviving one or two scary moments to score the win on two of the three judges' scorecards.

"It was a tough fight, but I thought I had done enough to get the win. It was always going to be close - he came in with an 18-1 record, so he's no novice. 

"Same with this fight - Mark will be a tough opponent. He's durable, he is a great grappler, so I'm sure my wrestling will be tested, but we are more than ready for that.

"I actually met him [de la Rosa] in Melbourne earlier this year, so I've had a chance to size him up (laughs).

"He's coming off a loss, so he'll be hungry to take that win off me, but you know, I've had that time off to nurse a few injuries and I'm feeling really excited."

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