UFC 137 preview: Hatsu Hioki looks to impress in UFC debut against George Roop

Hatsu Hioki(left) will face George Roop at UFC 137

The UFC 137 event will take place this weekend and will feature a featherweight bout on the main card between UFC newcomer Hatsu Hioki and MMA veteran George Roop. Hioki is thought to be a top 3 featherweight by many in the MMA world and he could be on the fast track to face featherweight champion Jose Aldo with a win this weekend. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Hatsu Hioki comes into this bout with a career record of (24-4-2) with 12 wins via submission and 4 wins via TKO/KO. Hioki was last seen in action on the Shooto 11 card submitting Donald Sanchez via triangle choke back in April of this year. Hioki comes with a style that will be suitable to the UFC cage, capable of takedowns and obviously a very good submission game.

George Roop comes into this bout with a career record of (12-7-1) with 4 wins via submission and 3 wins via TKO/KO. Roop was last seen in action beating up and defeating highly touted Josh Grispi this past June via TKO. Roop is a large featherweight with a decent overall skillset will give up takedowns and is prone to submissions.

Bet on Fighting  has Hioki as the betting favorite at (-325) and Roop as the underdog at (+265).

I don’t know if I’d have Roop as THAT big of an underdog, as you have to factor in the fact that Hioki is making his UFC debut and Japanese fighters historically have not done well in the UFC.

This fight will come down to the ground game of Hioki and whether or not Roop will be able to stop the takedown. Hioki has solid striking ability but will be looking to take advantage of Roop’s propensity to get submitted once the fight hits the ground. Four of Roop’s seven losses have come via submission with him defending the takedown only 56% of the time.

It’s possible that Roop could win this fight if he were to catch Hioki with a big strike and finish him off. That’s about his only shot in this fightthough as I expect Hioki to be able to get Roop to the ground and work his ground and pound which will open up submission attempts.

Hioki via decision or submission.