‘Pretty black and white fight’: Enumclaw’s Hooper to fight in St. Louis

Chase Hooper will be fighting Russia’s Viacheslav Borshchev on May 11.

By Charlotte McKinley


Lightweight Chase Hooper (13-3-1) returns to the UFC octagon this Saturday to face Russia’s Viacheslav Borshchev (7-3-1) in a battle between grappler and striker.

The last time “The Dream” set foot in the UFC octagon was on Nov. 18, 2023, where he quickly finished off lightweight Jordan Leavitt in round one with a rear naked choke.

Now, he looks to extend his two-fight win streak against Russia’s Viacheslav Borshchev on the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento.

Though fighting Borshchev was not a fight Hooper would have picked, “picking your shot” can be difficult. With differing fight rotations, injuries, and decisions by the matchmakers, most times fighters generally do not get the fights they want right away.

With similar fight trajectories and fight rotations, Hooper said the matchup against the Russian made “sense.”

Currently, Borshchev has six wins by knockout and three first round finishes in his professional MMA career compared to Hooper’s four knockouts, six submissions and five first round finishes.

“I think it’s a good step-up fight for both of us,” Hooper said. “I think the UFC is wanting to see which of us is ready for the next step up in the division.”

Borshchev enters the cage with a 2-2-1 record in the UFC. His last fight ended in a draw, and the fight before that was his first win after a two-fight skid.

Thus, this matchup has the potential to showcase two hungry athletes looking for a chance to climb the division.

As a grapple-focused fighter, Hooper’s plan is to get Borshchev to the ground where he can force a submission. Borshchev, on the other hand, will be looking to trade blows with Hooper.

Hooper, at 6-foot-1-inch, stands two inches above Borshchev’s 5-foot-11-inch frame. Hooper walks around heavier than the Russian with a five inch reach advantage. However, “Slava Claus” has a half-an-inch leg reach advantage on Hooper.

“It’s pretty black and white,” Hooper said. “If we’re striking the whole fight, that’s going to be in his favor, or for grappling, it’s going to be in mine.”

Borshchev has a 58% striking accuracy and a 56% successful significant strike defense, but only a 36% successful takedown defense.

“I feel like grappling is definitely the weakest aspect of his game,” Hooper said. “He’s a high level striker, and I’m a high level grappler.”

Hooper has competed professionally in Jiu Jitsu on big-name grappling promotions in the world. Notably, he was the 2016 Pan American Juvenile Middleweight blue belt champion. More recently, he competed on the Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship 3 card against former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.

Though Hooper is competent with his striking game, to finish the fight in the quickest way possible, he will be looking to get where he is most comfortable.

“It’s about getting them to where I want to be,” Hooper said. “Which, you know, will definitely be on the ground for me.”

Hooper originally wanted three fights in 2024. However, with his first fight of the year coming on Saturday, the likelihood of three fights is slim.

“I would have liked to have the extra [fight] for the extra money and the extra time competing, but it’ll give us a little bit of time to adjust to the whole baby thing,” Hooper said.

Hooper and his wife, Anna, are expecting the addition of a baby girl to their family in June. During her pregnancy, his wife, Anna, has been with Hooper during his fight camp and will be traveling with him to St. Louis to provide moral support and help with the remainder of his weight cut.

“I’m pretty on par to what I was last time,” Hooper said of his current weight cut. “I’m trying to diet to around 175 and then I’ll cut that 19 [or] 20 pounds of water which isn’t as hard as it seems.”

With the help of the UFC dietician and staff, his weight cuts are scientifically backed and are not drastically harmful to the body. Additionally, as weigh-ins are the day before the fight, Hooper has time to eat and rehydrate before facing Borshchev.

“It’s an exciting matchup,” Hooper said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento takes place Saturday, May 11 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The preliminary card starts at 1 p.m. with the main card starting at 4 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN and ESPN+.

Charlotte McKinley is a freelance journalist and focuses on Washington state MMA and jiu jitsu sports news. Contact her at charlottefrancesmckinley@gmail.com.