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Chase Hooper is Dialed into RBY’s Submission Debut | UFC FIGHT PASS

UFC Lightweight Chase Hooper Views NCAA Wrestling Star Roman Bravo-Young As A Breath Of Fresh Air In The Submission Grappling World

When it comes to MMA x BJJ crossovers, few have a more educated opinion than Chase Hooper. The 22-year-old lightweight prospect has some of his division’s best jiu jitsu skills and has even made the crossover to submission grappling as a two-time Fury Pro Grappling competitor.  

So, when it was announced that former Penn State wrestling superstar Roman Bravo-Young would be making his submission grappling debut against Alex Perez at the UFC FIGHT PASS Invitational 4, Hooper immediately turned his attention to the upcoming match.

During his decorated stint as a Nittany Lion, Bravo-Young was known for his flashy and unpredictable style on the mat, and Hooper views this type of game as a breath of fresh air in the jiu-jitsu world. 

“It is kind of ironic that the higher level you go in jiu jitsu, generally the less scrambling there is and the more boring the match becomes,” Hooper said. “To have a guy coming from the sport of wrestling, where it is more focused on scrambling and bringing that intensity, it is going to be fun to watch.” 

Stylistically, Hooper is intrigued at the concept of a national champion college wrestler dipping his toe into the pool of submission grappling. A fan of the more scramble-heavy, high-flying types of matches, Chase sees Bravo-Young’s game perfectly aligning with the type of grappling Hooper is fond of.  

“Some of the more exciting matches are the ones where people go for broke and are willing to put it all on the line and have these fun scrambles,” Hooper said.  

When it comes to athletes from sports like MMA and wrestling competing in submission grappling, Hooper sees the lack of a weight cut as a major advantage. This is a topic near and dear to his heart, as Hooper didn’t cut any weight in his victory over Clay Guida at Fury Pro Grappling 4.  

Watch The UFC FIGHT PASS Invitational 4 Live June 29

“Personally, I have never cut weight for jiu jitsu,” Hooper said. “When guys are going in there fresh, being able to eat as much as they want, not having to worry about their weight, they just get to focus on having a good match and feeling themselves properly.” 

Chase also made the decision to reduce his cut in UFC fights, making the jump to 155 pounds, which lead to one of his best Octagon performances yet, a dominant decision win over Nick Fiore. 

Given that neither Bravo-Young nor his opponent Alex Perez will be cutting any weight for the match, Hooper sees it as even more intriguing.  

“I think that makes for better matches because nobody is compromised going in there because everybody is at full strength.”  

“RBY is a little bit smaller, but he will be faster for sure, and he is more of a scrambler so that definitely benefits him not having to cut weight.” Hooper said. 

As intrigued as Hooper is to see Bravo-Young’s submission grappling performance, he’s beginning to read the tea leaves on a potential transition into MMA, citing Bravo-Young’s training with former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. 

Watch The UFC FIGHT PASS Invitational 4 Live June 29

“You can already see that he has been training with Dominick Cruz a decent amount, so he is able to get the attention of these guys,” Hooper said. “He’s built up such a rapport in college wrestling where he can train with someone like Dominick Cruz, and nobody bats an eye.” 

MMA future or not, there’s no doubt that Bravo-Young’s appearance in the FPI 4 is one that both college wrestling and MMA fans alike should have their eyes on.  

“To have a guy like RBY crossing over and taking that leap from the sport of wrestling into grappling  is really exciting,” Hooper said. “You see a lot of guys, like Bo Nickal, transition to MMA, but I can imagine this tournament will be more of a middle ground and a little closer to what they are used to.” 

Will two-time NCAA national champion Roman Bravo-Young be able to translate his skills into submission grappling? Find out when he takes on UFC flyweight contender Alex Perez at the UFC FIGHT PASS Invitational 4!