Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker break into UFC rankings

New Zealand MMA has officially reached new heights.

After spectacular performances by Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker in Las Vegas over the weekend, the Kiwis are now both officially ranked UFC fighters.

Fighting on the Australian regional scene less than a year ago, Adesanya headlined The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday night in only his third fight with the promotion. Adesanya put on a clinical striking display and exhibited excellent take down defense on his way to a unanimous decision victory over Brad Tavares.

The MMA world was abuzz after the performance with UFC President Dana White comparing Adesanya to UFC greats Jon Jones and Anderson Siva. The win, which saw Adesanya go the full five rounds for the first time in his career, improved his mixed martial arts record to 14-0 and earned him the number 9 spot in the UFC middleweight rankings.

The very next night saw Adesanya’s City Kickboxing team mate Dan Hooker knock out Brazilian Gilbert Burns in the first round. Despite the near flawless performance, Hooker appeared frustrated with the win as he felt the fight was too easy.

After trading wins and losses at the beginning of his UFC tenure, a move to lightweight has seen Hooker knock out Ross Pearson and Jim Miller and submit Marc Diakiese. In knocking out Burns over the weekend, Hooker earned his fourth straight stoppage victory and now has the third longest active finishing streak in the UFC.

Hooker also improved his MMA record to 17-7 and earned himself the number 12 ranking in the UFC lightweight division.

UFC returns to Adelaide on December 2