An early takedown from Leavitt led to a series of scrambles and a battle for position on the ground, with both fighters looking to gain the upper hand. Just when it looked as if Leavitt may have taken over after connecting with a vicious punch on the ground, Hooper got the reversal and quickly wrapped up a rear-naked choke.
A split second later, Leavitt was forced to tap out, with the end coming at 2:58 in the opening round.
“I always go into fights expecting a three-round war,” Hooper said following the win. “I thought I was going to be a lot more hurt after this. But again, this sport’s cutthroat.
“Coming out with the win, coming out with my two checks, maybe a bonus — I’ve got a baby on the way, I’ve got to start making that money.”
The fighters barely had any time on the feet before Leavitt shot inside for a takedown, and that’s where the wild exchanges started on the ground. Hooper managed a reversal and then Leavitt responded in kind as the lightweights continuously battled for position.
At one point, Hooper threw up an armbar attempt and it looked like he might get the job done, but Leavitt kept moving until he finally emerged on top. It looked as if Leavitt might go for a slam, so Hooper opted to release the submission.
A second later, Leavitt came crashing down on him with a massive punch that appeared to rattle Hooper, but perhaps he was just playing possum because he wasted no time escaping and then transitioning to take the back. From there, Hooper latched onto the rear-naked choke, and with the arm under the neck, Leavitt had no choice but to tap or go to sleep.
The win moves Hooper to 3-1 over his past four fights, as the 24-year-old prospect continues to evolve and grow with every performance. This is also the first two-fight win streak that Hooper has managed since joining the UFC roster in 2019.