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Kiwi UFC fighters shoot into official rankings

Newshub logoNewshub 12/07/2018 Stephen Foote
Adesanya and Hooker. © Image - Getty; Video - Newshub. Adesanya and Hooker.

The stocks of Kiwi fighters Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker continue to rise, with both rocketing into the UFC's official rankings, after eye-catching victories in Las Vegas last weekend.

Hooker has leapt into 14th spot in the talent-soaked lightweight ladder after his emphatic first-round knockout against Gilbert Burns on the undercard of UFC 226.

Teammate Israel Adesanya's rise is even more meteoric, with his clinical five-round dismantling of Brad Tavares propelling him all the way up to ninth at middleweight.

Hooker's win was both his fourth straight and his fourth finish, which ties him for the longest win streak among all active fighters in the UFC.

Earning an official ranking pushes them into another echelon in their respective weight classes and puts them in line for bouts with higher quality opponents at larger scale events, increasing the glare of their spotlights and making them more attractive targets for potential opponents.

Adesanya's near-flawless display in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Finale moved him ahead of vanquished opponent Tavares, who previously sat eighth.

'The Last Stylebender' made it clear he was looking to fight Paulo Costa, after the Brazilian ran through Uriah Hall on the main card of UFC 226, accosting president Dana White in the VIP room of a nightclub to make his intentions clear first-hand.

"I finally met Dana properly and we start talking," said Adesanya on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

"I dropped his name in there like, 'Yeah, I want to fight Paulo Costa next', but they have other ideas. Fair enough.

"They've done this a long time. They're promoters."

Hooker has also made no secret with his demands for elite opposition and his string of highlight KOs have made those difficult to ignore.

"Give me someone in the top 10," Hooker told UFC commentator Rogan, after dispatching Burns on Sunday. "Put some respect on my name.

"You're getting these boys hurt. You need to give me someone on my level."

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