UFC Vegas 4 Betting Pick: Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker

This weekend’s UFC Vegas 4 broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+ is the last event in Las Vegas before the company moves the operation to Fight Island!

Abu Dhabi will be the home of hopefully some really rad fights on the beach. Please don’t fight inside. Outside is way better. It reminds me of the glory days of MMA as well as some time spent in Thailand and Myanmar. I guess we will see.

But first, we have one more event at the UFC’s APEX facility in Las Vegas.

If you’re looking for big names sprinkled throughout the card, you’re looking in the wrong place. At one point, I think we had 7 or 8 debutants on the fight card. There are 5 now and 3 fighters are just competing for the second time inside the Octagon.

I know the UFC is trying their best and I am beyond thankful but I am having a hard time finding value in the betting lines due to the unusual amount of sharp money on these fights.

It’s also hard to put your trust in a debut fighter.

Many of these debutants are more skilled and have potentially brighter futures on paper than their veteran opponents so we are forced to choose between skill and experience and that’s rarely ever easy.

I am actually looking forward to having a week off of the UFC so we can get ahead of the sharp money on some of these betting lines. We are simply being priced out too early.

There are some betting lines that get better with time but you have to accept that you’re on the wrong side of the betting pros. You can win but it’s not a great strategy to continually disagree with experts who are wagering hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The main event on Saturday is one of the best we have seen in a while!

This is easily the biggest main event since Justin Gaethje vs Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.

  • Dustin Poirier is coming off of a tapout loss to the UFC Lightweight World Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. No shame there.
  • Dan Hooker is only 4 months past a 5-round war with the heavy-hitting Paul Felder. It was quite close but the Hangman got the win.

The online sportsbook BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for this fight. Let’s take a look at those and make a play for the main event!

Dustin Poirier (-224) vs Dan Hooker (+189)

Round Total

OVER 2.5
-120
UNDER 2.5
+105

Diamonds are forever, right?

Dustin The Diamond Poirier has been around the mixed martial arts scene for quite some time now. The Louisiana native and former Featherweight moved up to 155 years ago and has never looked better.

It isn’t often we see an MMA fighter improve as much as Dustin has after he has already made it to the UFC.

When you’re fighting full time, you’re focused on competition, which does make you better but you never get an extended amount of time to just play in the gym.

It’s also advantageous quite often but depending on the particular matchup that we see fighters only go with their best moves in the cage. They feel this gives them the best opportunity to win that night and it likely does.

Continually focusing on your strength because you’re constantly competing will keep those skills as your strength.

The best fighters, the top 5 guys like Dustin Poirier are the ones who get better each and every time they fight and continually evolve from camp to camp.

I think Dan Hooker is that guy as well although he has yet to develop much of an offensive wrestling game. That is the biggest difference in this fight and a big reason why I think Dustin is more than a 2 to 1 favorite.

Dustin is an outstanding boxer, one of the best in MMA, and he prefers to fight in the phone booth.

The Diamond loves to switch stances as he moves forward taking leg kicks out of the equation and also screwing up the distance management of his opponent. That is Dan Hooker’s bread and butta, distance management.

  • Poirier has struggled with longer boxers in the past but when he fought Anthony Pettis and Joe Duffy, he was able to use his wrestling to win the fight.
  • Against Michael Johnson, though, he got caught early and didn’t recover.
  • Conor McGregor caught him with a beautiful shot behind the ear when they fought years ago at 145.

Poirier has reinvented himself at Lightweight, though. I think with the small cage and the likely wrestling advantage of Poirier, he should definitely be the favorite.

Dustin has some miles on him, for sure, especially for just being 31 years old.

Dan does as well, though. He was beaten up pretty badly in his loss to Edson Barboza and even though he got the nod over Felder recently, he got his with 150+ power shots.

Jason Knight is a fellow Louisianan and he was able to box up and take down Hooker so why couldn’t Dustin do the same?

Well, just like DP has evolved through his late 20s in the UFC, Dan Hooker has also looked better and better every time we see him step inside the Octagon. His takedown defense, range, and even power seem to be getting better and better.

Both men are tough as nails and will be poised.

I do edge Poirier here without looking at the betting odds. I don’t really see how you could cap this fight in favor of Hooker. He may end up as a 2 to 1 underdog by fight time and he is certainly live.

It’s going to take more than a stiff jab to keep Poirier off of him so Dan better land some power punches as well.

If Poirier comes out southpaw as expected, the fight altering calf kick that Dan Hooker loves so much will have to be thrown by the lead leg which is a no-no because it opens you up to be countered with the straight left.

I can’t tell you how many times my Thai coach has told me “No left kick left hand!”

When you’re a righty and they are a lefty or vice versa, the action of the lead hand and leg are more about position than using them as strikes. It is more about each fighter throwing their power side and doubling up.

Poirier is better on paper, period. I do like Hooker’s momentum a lot, though, as well as his betting odds.

Since the loss to Jason Knight in 2016, The Hangman has won 7 of 8 fights finishing 5 of those contests. Dustin’s level of competition has been better, though. We can’t deny that.

I don’t think a stab at Hooker here is a bad play unless you just want to sit back and enjoy the main event.

I promise you guys that more UFC betting opportunities are on the way. Over the past few weeks, I have definitely forced some picks. I don’t want to do that again this week especially with this being the most helter-skelter fight card we have seen in years.

Please Note:

I like half or 1 unit on Dan Hooker here. Also, the round total is surprisingly valuable.

I mentioned the 2.5 already but the over 3.5 rounds is plus money at (+138). Let’s stick with over 2.5. Both men are dogs so it’ll be a sweat regardless.

If Dan starts to connect, I can see Dustin switching to grappling and I think that is what will carry the fight into the championship rounds.

My Pick
DAN HOOKER
+189
OVER 2.5 ROUNDS
-120

In Conclusion

These two savages… I can’t wait!

I’m going to have to hike all day on Saturday just to fight off the anticipation. This is the second biggest MMA fight of 2020.

Conor’s return was cool but I think we all saw that coming. I guess we had Adesanya vs Romero. That was a big fight but it sucked.

I wish I could make a wager on excitement level this Saturday night because I would bet both big toes that this fight will be entertaining for however long it lasts.

  • Dustin fights smart but he’s such a gamer that I don’t see him only using his wrestling even if it is highly effective.
  • Dan Hooker was overwhelmed by Edson Barboza because of speed and the kicks broke down his body early and often.
  • Dustin Poirier does have pressure boxing to counter the range boxing of Hooker but DP doesn’t have the kicks.
  • Hooker could land that unattached knee up the middle because Poirier does like to dip his head in the pocket to gain leverage on shorter punches.

Gonna be a good one.

I like the over 2.5 for nearly even money. Both fighters are as durable as they are damaging if that helps the argument at all. No?

That’s okay. This fight card is almost devoid of value. I’m sure there are others out there who are thinking differently and probably more efficiently than me if they’re finding value but I have been looking all week and there isn’t much.

When I heard this fight was announced, I told myself that I would be Poirier as long as he stayed under (-150) but that is long gone.

Give Hooker some love. He has the knee to the head and a good guillotine to defend the pocket boxing and likely takedown attempts from Poirier.

Both men come from tremendous fight camps but City Kickboxing in New Zealand has been putting together some very intelligent and effective game plans lately.

Enjoy the show, team!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.