Paul Felder and Dan Hooker headline UFC Auckland; check out their intense staredown

An intense staredown between Paul Felder and Dan Hooker promised fireworks when they finally step into the Octagon in February.

Felder and Hooker will square off in the UFC Auckland main event on Feb. 23 in Auckland, New Zealand (Feb. 22 in North America). It’s a pivotal bout not only for Felder and Hooker, but also for the UFC lightweight division.

With his overall record currently at 17-4, Felder has won his last five bouts at lightweight. Though that streak was interrupted by a loss to Mike Perry at welterweight – Felder’s success at 155 pounds has him sitting in the No. 6 position in the division.

With victories over Edson Barboza and James Vick this year, a victory over Hooker to start 2020 would put Felder in a strong position to call for a title shot. Current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and No. 1 challenger Tony Ferguson square off in April.

Felder found the featherweight road filled with potholes, alternating between wins and losses to begin his UFC career. He has turned things around by moving back up to the lightweight division, where he has gone 6-1, including victories over Al Iaquinta and Vick in his last two bouts.

Sitting at No. 7 in the UFC lightweight rankings, Hooker finds himself in a similar situation to Felder, in that he could catapult himself into title contention with a victory in Auckland.


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At 35 years of age, the stakes a re a bit higher for Felder, who is in the latter half of his career. He recently signed a new multi-fight deal with the UFC, according to MMAFighting.com, but has been preparing for life after fighting with regular appearances as  a color commentator on UFC broadcasts.