Auckland MMA fighter Dan Hooker wins war at UFC 290
Auckland MMA fighter Dan Hooker has defeated American Jalin Turner in an absolute war at UFC 290.
The back and forth epic between the number 11 and 12 lightweights in the world was violent from the first bell.
After being dominated early and eating a savage head kick, Hooker recovered to almost finish it in the second, only for Turner to be saved by the bell.
The largely stand-up affair saw the final minutes with both men exhausted on the canvas.
A razor close call, Hooker prevailed by a split decision.
"Tough times don't last, Dan Hooker does," he said following the win.
Hooker heaped the praise on his opponent.
"He's a tough kid, he's got a big future."
Hooker also appeared injured following the fight, with Joe Rogan asking if he had broken his arm.
"Just a scratch, will have to see."
It was an inauspicious start for the Hangman after committing a low blow early into the first round.
Turner was finding consistent success with leg kicks and was able to land on Hooker's sternum on several occasions.
Hooker enjoyed a late flurry after connecting with a combination of punches but the first five minutes well and truly belonged to the American.
Turner again started stronger in the second and landed a left high kick flush to Hooker's head, opening up the New Zealander.
With blood streaming down his face, Hooker found another gear and unleashed a huge onslaught, landing clean to force Turner to the canvas.
Hooker locked in a a deep, rear naked choke only for the round to end as Turner's tap was imminent.
A visibly tired Turner shot for an early takedown in the third but Hooker reversed and took guard.
Both men exchanged shots on the ground before the bloody 15-minute battle ended.
Hooker's new blond hair was changed crimson, but bruised and battered, he was ultimately awarded his 23rd career win.