Darren Elkins Hoping to Get “Back in The Mix of Things” by Defeating Hatsu Hioki
By Kelsey Mowatt
After having his five fight win streak stopped by Chad Mendes at UFC on FOX 7 in April, Darren Elkins has been presented with another key opportunity, as the featherweight will battle Hatsu Hioki at UFC Fight Night 27. Although the Japanese star is coming off decision losses to Ricardo Lamas and Clay Guida, Elkins knows that defeating Hioki, would be a great way to get back in the title shot hunt.
“I like the fight; it’s definitely a tough fight,” Elkins said in a recent appearance on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “It’s a fight that if I beat him, I feel like I’m back in the mix of things after the last loss. It’s definitely a fight that I was looking forward to getting and fighting in my home state; that was part of the big thing too. I was definitely happy to book this one.”
The August 28th, UFC FN 27 will be hosted by the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, which isn’t far from where the Duneland Vale Tudo fighter resides.
“It’s only about a three hour drive for me, so as soon as they announced that they were going to have a card in Indianapolis, it gave me enough time, a break in between, I was healed up and everything. I really started pushing to get on the Indianapolis card and they put me on it,” Elkins added. “I was really happy about that.”
It wasn’t long ago that Hioki was widely regarded to be one of the planet’s best 145’ers, thanks to reigns as the Shooto and Sengoku champion, and wins over men like Mark Hominick, Marlon Sandro and Masanori Kanehara. After arriving in the UFC, Hioki proceeded to earn victories over Bart Palaszewski and George Roop, before coming up short against Lamas and Guida.
“I think some of his hype went down a little bit because of his fights in the UFC,” said Elkins, when asked if perhaps mainstream fans are unaware that Hioki was considered to be one of the sport’s best featherweights. “He had a close fight in his first UFC fight, and then he had a good fight in his next, but he’s lost his last two. So I think most people are kind of overlooking him, but he’s always a dangerous guy.”
“He’s a well rounded fighter,” Elkins added about the 30 year-old. “You can’t overlook him because he can catch you at anytime in a fight.”
Based off how Hioki faired against noted wrestlers in Lamas and Guida, one could argue that on paper, Elkins could also pose some problems for the fighter.
“I do,” said the accomplished high school wrestler, while discussing whether he believes he matches up well with Hioki. “He’s a grappler, I’m a grappler; I think I’m going to be able to take him down if I want to, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to take me down. So, I think I’m going to be able to choose where the fight goes down a little bit more than where he’s going to be able to choose.”
That said, the 5’11 tall Hioki is a BJJ black belt, whose record includes more than a few submission wins.
“You’ve got to be ready for his guard,” the 29 year-old Elkins admitted. “As soon as you go down to the mat he’s already going for submissions. He’s got good transitions, so you’ve always got to be on your toes if you’re in his guard. He’s definitely got a great guard.”
The upcoming UFC Fight Night 27 card will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and will feature Carlos Condit taking on welterweight Martin Kampmann in the main event.