UFC: NZ's Dan Hooker earns emphatic first-round knockout against James Vick

Kiwi UFC lightweight Dan Hooker needed less than three minutes to floor James Vick and shoot back into the division's upper echelon with a statement knockout win in San Antonio on Sunday (NZT).

At the site of one of America's most famed battles, Hooker made a stand of his own – bouncing back from his demoralising defeat to Edson Barboza with a victory that re-establishes him as a threat to any fighter in the promotion's most talent-rich division.

The City Kickboxing product brought the contest to an end with a surgical sequence of strikes, feinting with the right hand over the top before planting a searing straight left on Vick's jaw to send the towering Texan to the mat.

The shots that he immediately rained from above were barely required as the referee stepped in to bring a halt to proceedings.

The KO maintained Hooker's 100 percent finish rate inside the Octagon through his nine wins to date, and was perhaps his most meaningful yet judging by his post-fight address.

"I trained the hardest I've ever trained in my life for this fight because I know you don't mess with Texas, so I came here prepared" Hooker told the appreciative AT&T Centre crowd.

"I'm just doing what my coaches say and that turns out with results."

Hooker delivers the blow that felled Vick.
Hooker delivers the blow that felled Vick. Photo credit: Getty

After reeling off four-straight finishes in a record-equalling streak that captured the attention of the lightweight division, Hooker ran hit a roadblack in Brazilian Edson Barboza last year in a defeat that he admits left him reeling.

Back after an eight-month hiatus, the mixture of relief and happiness shone through as he celebrated his win over the 15th-ranked Vick that exorcised those demons and returned him to the cusp of the title picture. 

Asked where he's next setting his sights, Hooker looked down the camera and made his intentions crystal clear.

"On October fifth, my brother Israel Adesanya is fighting to unify the middleweight world title and I need to be on that card. I demand to be on that card.

"Any of you lightweights want to man up and meet me here, let's go."

The Aucklander will also likely be near the front of the queue for a bonus payday for Performance of the Night for the third time in his career.

In other results, Walt Harris scored a devastating 11-second KO win over Aleksei Oleinik, Greg Hardy claimed an opening round win of his own against Juan Adams, and Leon Edwards took a decision against Rafael Dos Anjos in the headline act.

Newshub.

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