Chase Hooper, after his triumphant win over Jordan Leavitt during the UFC Fight Night 232 over the weekend, is now targeting a match against fellow leg lock specialist Claudio Puelles. Hooper and Leavitt showcased an exhilarating round of high-speed grappling, a duel that Hooper quickly turned to his advantage. Nicknamed “The Dream”, Hooper locked in a rear-naked choke at the 2:58 mark of the first round. Known for previously securing a victory using a heel hook submission, Hooper subsequently expressed his ambition to face Puelles in a post-fight interview.
Hooper showed considerable admiration and respect for Puelles, stating, “I’d like someone like Claudio Puelles. He beat Jordan, I believe, by decision. Then he also has a kneebar win over Clay Guida. I just beat Jordan tonight, and I’ve got a calf slicer over Clay in a grappling match. But still, I would love to fight another guy that’s big into leg locks – another big jiu-jitsu guy in the division. Tonight is the perfect example. Those are fun matchups, and I think they’re fun to watch. It’s a style of grappling people can get down with.”
Puelles, interestingly, had previously beaten Leavitt at UFC Fight Night 189 back in June 2021. This Peruvian fighter has impressively earned four out of his seven submission wins via kneebar, with three of these victories being achieved in the UFC circuit. However, with his five-fight winning streak ended by a TKO loss to Dan Hooker in November 2022, at the age of 27, Puelles currently remains out of competition.
Hooper, on the other hand, is enjoying back-to-back victories since his move up to 155 pounds. While he remains hopeful about a face-off with Puelles, Hooper elucidates that even if that match doesn’t materialize, he would like to stay active in the near future. His reasoning for wanting to increase his fight frequency is rather heartwarming, with Hooper soon expecting his first child. “I’ve got to start making a little more of that dad money,” he confessed, adding, “I’d like to be a little bit more active, especially here at ‘55 where I don’t have to cut as hard. I’d like to get three fights in.”