The genuine excitement for the Bobby Green vs Islam Makhachev matchup radiated off of Dan Hooker as he articulated his insights recently.
That consequential clash main events the February 26th UFC Fight Night, a card that emanates from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Beneil Dariush fell out of this fight after snapping his fibula which presented the vacancy for Green.
Getting a top-ranked opponent on short notice for someone with the momentum of Makhachev is understandably a hard ask.
In securing Green, this is as high a level of a last-minute matchup as you can get. But the short notice component led to the fight being contested at a 160 pound catchweight.
“Yeah, that’s a weird weight. It’s only like four pounds off,” Hooker said during The AllStar MMA Live show. “Bobby Green must have ate plenty of burgers after his fight. I’m just excited for the fight. I don’t even want to get into ‘this guy’s gonna do this’. I’m genuinely just excited for the fight. Bobby Green’s movement is so unorthodox. Having his head movement, fighting with his hands so low, switching stances, pretty difficult guy to get down.
“But I’m happy to see Bobby Green in a main event. That’s what I wanted to see after his last couple of performances. Even his fight against Rafael Fiziev I was like, I would love to see Bobby Green in a main event. Then after the Al Iaquinta knockout, he gets another big win. I’m just excited to see him go out there and shine. Be in a position that he deserves from the hard work he’s put in throughout his career.”
Green possesses a unique style that is not recommended by most coaches in combat sports, yet it works for him. Honing and refining his skills takes tremendous dedication and a solid base.
“Like a true martial artist, he brings his genuine own style,” Hooker said. “Once you understand the rules, is when you can break the rules.
“Don’t walk into a gym and then on your first day like put your hands down and try to fight like Bobby Green. Switching stance and having your hands at your hips you will get your head kicked in. I’m sure for a long stretch of his career he fought traditionally with his hands up. And then once he mastered the fundamentals of that and understood range and understood defense and head movement and things like that, now he’s able to break the rules and change the rules because he understands the rules.
“It takes incredibly sharp eyes to fight like that and incredibly well-drilled reactions. And his style has obviously taken him decades to work on and decades to iron out the kinks and to master. I feel recently he’s really just finding success with everything in his game and it’s all coming together at the right time.”
Several tantalizing tendrils of intrigue protrude from the nucleus of this white-hot clash between two elite lightweights. There is a commensurate degree of risk in different regards for both of these combatants leading into this one.
“It’s a dangerous fight. I feel like that aspect of it is being overlooked,” Hooker quipped. “Yeah, people were saying big ups to Bobby Green for taking the fight. Which I’m on board with as well. Big ups to him on such short notice. I hope he’s getting paid what I got paid (laughs). I pray and hope that he’s getting taken care of by the UFC. I’m sure he is.
“Massive respect to Islam for taking this fight as well. It’s a dangerous opponent on a hot streak. At a catchweight on two weeks’ notice. Islam has to take this very seriously and I’m sure he is. But it’s a dangerous fight. Bobby Green is no easy beat. Islam, I feel, doesn’t have too much to gain from it. That’s where the danger lies in this fight.
“Is that everyone is expecting Islam to win. When everyone is expecting you to not only win but win in a very dominant fashion, that also puts a lot of pressure on a fighter. So I feel like there’s a lot of pressure leading into it. The mix of all of those things is what makes this such an exciting fight.”