The UFC Fight Night 27 card is just two days away, and the Featherweight fight between local fighter Darren Elkins and Japan’s Hatsu Hioki is flying under the radar for now, but is an interesting fight that has some ‘Fight of the Night’ potential, though as undercard fight it is a long shot for that award. But it won’t be for lack of trying on the part of the two fighters, as both men are in need of a win and looking for a little bit of redemption. Right now, the line reflects a close fight, with Hioki a slight favorite at (-130) with the comeback on Elkins at (+110).
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Elkins is coming off a loss in roughly a minute to highly regarded Chad Mendes. It was a disappointing way to have a five fight winning streak snapped for Elkins, for whom the Mendes fight was a step up fight after facing largely undercard competition. For Elkins, this fight with Hioki is a renewed chance at proving he is a potential contender.
For his part, Hioki has dropped two in a row to go 2-2 in his UFC career. Hioki is likely favored in the match because the competition level throughout his career is higher than that of Elkins, and Elkins presents a gritty, hard nosed fighter who likely will not have any surprises for Haoki.
Elkins will want to make a grind out of the fight, fighting ugly and in the clinches. He is going to need to rough up Hioki and stay ahead on the cards. Hioki has never been taken out in a figt, by punches or by submission, so Elkins is looking at having to sustain an offense over the course of the fight. Elkins has a solid gas tank,and he is comfortable in a grinding match where he takes damage. The main thing for Elkins is will he be able to avoid something big or something tricky from Hioki, who must see Elkins no nonsense come forward style as ripe for a stoppage.
ELkins will have the homefield advantage, but that could provide added pressure to ELkins, who hasn’t fought at home since he was active on the club circuit.