UFC Auckland: Dan Hooker edges out Paul Felder in incredible main event

Dan Hooker defeats Paul Felder at UFC Auckland (Image: Chad Wood)

New Zealand fight fans were treated to something special in Auckland as Dan Hooker and Paul Felder put their bodies on the line in an incredible main event.

In a fight that went the full five rounds, both Hooker and Felder left the cage bloodied and bruised as both fighters landed heavy shots in a fight that stayed predominantly on the feet.

The noise was deafening throughout the fight as chants for Hooker lit up Spark Arena.

It was the hometown hero in Hooker who squeaked away with the split-decision victory to the delight of the local crowd. Once the decision was read, Hooker fell to the ground in relief to hear his name from Bruce Buffer.

In a fight that was difficult to score, Felder controlled the cage for most of the fight and worked away at Hooker’s lead leg limiting his movement in the later rounds.

Hooker used his reach advantage and jab to bloody the nose of Felder and keep him from coming in too close.

The fight was incredibly close as it came to the 5th and final round with both fighters finding success on the feet. Hooker eventually initiated some grappling exchanges and managed to score a takedown on Felder towards the end of the round and likely steal the fight.

The win brings the 7th ranked Hooker’s professional record to 21-8. In his post-fight interview with Dan Hardy, Hooker said he wants to fight Justin Gaethje next.

Neither fighter was available for the post-fight press conference with both fighters being transported to the hospital.

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My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook.  I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.