The 21-year-old featherweight fully reinforced both of those notions in the opening bout Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Barrett (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) basically controlled most of the first two-plus rounds of the fight, with the exception of occasional ground exchanges here and there. But then Hooper (9-1-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) reminded everyone that his jiu-jitsu is legit when he executed a perfect Tony Ferguson-esque Imanari roll and caught Barrett in a heel hook. Barrett basically thrashed around like a hooked fish, but finally had to tap away at the 3:02 mark in the third round of a fight he had all but won.
You can check out his fantastic finish below (via Twitter):
— UFC (@ufc) December 13, 2020
“I’m ecstatic I’m as happy as I could be,” Hooper said after the fight. “I get another win, keep racking them up, and get my mojo back.”
According to UFC research analyst Michael Carroll, it was the first featherweight heel hook finish in UFC history and 19th overall.
With the win, Hooper (9-1-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) shook off his first career loss to Alex Caceres. It was his eight career finish and fifth submission victory.