Conor McGregor on Recent UFC Callouts – “I accept!”

Conor McGregor, UFC

Well you had to know that the biggest star in UFC history couldn’t stay quiet for too long as people continue to call him out.

Conor McGregor is notorious for using Twitter to respond/callout fellow fighters in the UFC. The former double champion seemingly responded to some of the recent callouts today.

Now of course, this tweet doesn’t really tell us a lot about McGregor’s UFC future. What we do know is that McGregor “retired” due to the lack of options when it came to fighting. McGregor wanted an active 2020 and it’s been anything but.

Who in the UFC is calling him out?

One of the most recent callouts that makes the most sense would be Tony Ferguson. Ferguson recently told ESPN that he was wanting to either fight McGregor or Dustin Poirier next.

McGregor and Ferguson have had verbal back and forths in the past. A fight between the two never came close to getting done. When Ferguson was ready for a title shot, McGregor was boxing Floyd Mayweather.

Another person who has called out McGregor in recent months is Dustin Poirier. Poirier has fought McGregor once at UFC 178 and was knocked out in the first round.

Of course, that fight was a long time ago, and Poirier is much better know. The Diamond has wanted to get that fight back and believes he could beat McGregor if they rematched at lightweight.

One of the latest callouts is coming from the UFC‘s budding star, Khamzat Chimaev. Chimaev has been very vocal about his dislike of McGregor. He tweeted this out earlier today.

We do not know who McGregor is talking about with his cryptic “I accept,” tweet. Nobody really believes he’s retired so it would make sense that he would start angling for another fight soon. Who do you think he’s talking about in his tweet?


UFC: Tony Ferguson – Dustin Poirier is the fight to make

Tony Ferguson, UFC

There is no division in the UFC that is as talent heavy at the top as the lightweight division. The top five guys in the division all rank within the top fifteen in the promotions pound-for-pound rankings.

Two of the guys at the very top are former interim UFC champions, Tony Ferguson (25-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC).

Ferguson is coming off of a loss to Justin Gaethje for the interim title back at UFC 249 in May. Prior to that loss, Ferguson had a 12 fight winning streak that dated back to 2013.

Since the loss where Ferguson took a lot of damage, many were wondering what would be next for Ferguson. Ferguson laid out what he thinks the plan should be moving forward to ESPN.

Battle of two of the UFC’s best

I love what Ferguson is thinking, but realistically, I only see one of these being an option for his next UFC fight. I think the only fight that Conor McGregor will take next is a fight for the title.

With that being said, it leaves The Diamond. Poirier is coming off of an insane victory in a war with Dan Hooker back in June. Poirier is 6-1, 1 NC in his last eight fights. He holds a victory over current interim champion, Justin Gaethje.

These top UFC lightweights would make for a perfect matchup. If they were to fight, the winner would make a very clear number one contender for the winner of Khabib – Gaethje.

Of course, there are a few hurdles in the way of that. The hurdles being Conor McGregor and Georges St. Pierre. The UFC lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov, wants to supposedly retire 30-0 meaning he’d only fight two more times.

If Khabib defeats Gaethje, he said that he wants to fight GSP next year in his final fight. This is a fight the UFC is open to. The promotion will also likely try to push for a McGregor rematch given the magnitude of that fight.

Those hurdles will create a massive headache and problem for Ferguson and Poirier. These two men would be the most deserving of a shot at the title, but will likely be in limbo if Nurmagomedov wins in October.

Regardless, this is the fight that the UFC needs to put together. It makes sense from a rankings perspective, and I mean who wouldn’t want to see these two throw down?

UFC: What’s next for Dustin Poirier?

Dustin Poirier, UFC

There is no doubt that Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) is one of the best lightweights in the UFC. In fact, you could definitely say he’s one of the best fighters in the promotion.

The Diamond is 6-1 with 1 NC in his last eight fights defeating some of the best names in the sport. His lone loss coming to the UFC‘s undisputed lightweight king, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Last month, Poirier defeated Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12 in an instant classic. Poirier has had some time to heal and was interviewed by Jim Rome about his future this week.

“I’ve been fighting for a while, I have 40 fights, and I want these last four or five years to really mean something every time I get into the octagon… I really want to leave a legacy” Poirier told Rome.

When asked about what he wants next, Poirier said, “It needs to be a really big name or a title fight. I’ve been doing this for 10 years in the UFC, and I still love fighting, but I want these fights to mean more than just a fight.”

What should the UFC do?

Given how brutal the last fight was with Hooker, I would still give Poirier a little time before offering him a fight if I was the UFC. If he’s not going to get a title shot next, ESM’s Olivier Dumont suggests he start with Tony Ferguson (25-4).

Like Poirier, Ferguson is also a former UFC interim lightweight champion. Ferguson just suffered his first loss in May after going on a winning streak that spanned seven years.

A fight between the two men would determine a clear number one contender in the lightweight division. The fight would be a fight that fans would love to see.

Another matchup that the fans would love to see is the rematch with the sports most famous fighter, Conor McGregor (22-4).

McGregor is retired for now, but he’s likely going to fight for the title upon his return to the octagon. However, if the UFC persuades him to take another fight, Poirier makes perfect sense.

The two men fought at featherweight years ago, and McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round at UFC 178. The two men are much better now and a rematch would be fascinating to watch.

One outside the box idea that I like would be a fight with Nate Diaz (20-12). Yes, Diaz has said that he doesn’t want to cut to 155 anymore, but this fight was already scheduled once. The fight was originally scheduled for UFC 230.

If Poirier wants a big name, he’s not going to get much better than Diaz. Who knows when we will see Diaz again, but a fight with Poirier would be one I’d be excited for.

There are several avenues the UFC can go with Poirier. I think Ferguson is the most likely if you ask me, but it will be interesting to see how the promotion moves forward with The Diamond.

ESM’s Men’s UFC Pound-for-Pound rankings ahead of Saturday Night

One of the things that never seems to make sense to the world is the UFC rankings. If you go over to the UFC’s official rankings page, the pound for pound rankings make you scratch your head. At ESM, we have decided to throw our hat into the ring to create our own rankings that we will keep updated following every major UFC/MMA event.

Men’s Pound-For-Pound Rankings

  1. Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC)
  2. Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0)
  3. Israel Adesanya (19-0)
  4. Kamaru Usman (16-1)
  5. Stipe Miocic (19-3)
  6. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC)
  7. Alexander Volkanovski (21-1)
  8. Justin Gaethje (22-2)
  9. Conor McGregor (22-4)
  10. Francis Ngannou (15-3)

To me, Jon Jones is still the best to ever do it inside the octagon. In reality, the man is 28-0 just like Nurmagomedov but due to an elbow rule and a picogram, he’s got two blemishes on his record. Still when “Bones” is on his game, he’s the best in the world possessing elite skills in all aspects of MMA.

In comparison to the UFC‘s official rankings you’ll notice some differences. I personally left Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway outside of the top ten. Holloway is 1-2 in his last three fights which hurts his case. Poirier was a tough call, but I went with Gaethje and McGregor from that division. I think if Poirier were to rematch both men especially the new and improved Justin Gaethje, it could be a long night for him.

Francis Ngannou is the one who needs to be ranked higher in the UFC‘s rankings. The Predator is currently ranked 14th, but he belongs in the top ten. The most prolific knockout artist in UFC history is on a Mike Tyson like tear right now. His last four fights have gone a combined 2:42 against top heavyweight competition.

UFC 251’s Potential Impact

There are a couple of fights that will have an impact on the P4P UFC rankings this Saturday. The main event of the evening features Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal (35-13). Masvidal has won three fights in a row, but if he’s able to defeat Usman, he will finally launch into the top ten pound for pound rankings. Usman will likely hold in the fourth spot with a win on Saturday night.

Alexander Volkanovski can jump in the rankings even more if he’s able to defeat Holloway for a second time. The Australian has won 18 fights in a row including all eight of his UFC fights. If he’s able to retain his title on Saturday night and do it impressively, you could make the argument that he belongs in the top five.

Holloway could get back into the top ten if he’s able to regain his title. 2019 was not a great year for the former champion losing two fights. However, the Blessed Era can make an emphatic return if he’s able to dethrone Vokanovski on Saturday night. Fight Island definitely has the potential to shake up our UFC men’s pound for pound rankings.

UFC: Halfway through 2020, what has been the FOTY so far?

We are officially halfway through 2020. The UFC has put on some incredible cards, and the UFC has overcame a worldwide pandemic over the last two months to bring sports back to the world. There have been some incredible fights so far in 2020, but what has been the fight of the year?

Best of the Rest

This year has been so much fun when it comes to the UFC. We have seen the return of Conor McGregor, we’ve seen highlight reel knockouts, and we’ve seen some unforgettable fights. I have come up with a list of the three best fights of 2020, but there are several fights beyond my list that have brought many to their feet. Some of the fights that come to mind are: Emmett/Burgos, Felder/Hooker, Yadong/Vera, and many more. However, the three fights I have picked, I believe stand above the rest.

Justin Gaethje vs Tony Ferguson – UFC 249

When this fight was announced in April, did you expect anything else? Tony Ferguson (25-4) was the boogieman of the lightweight division, and Justin Gaethje (22-2) lives up to his name in being the highlight of the lightweight division. After UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, was pulled from his fight with Ferguson due to COVID-19 restrictions, Gaethje stepped up.

The UFC booked Ferguson/Gaethje for the interim lightweight title at UFC 249. The smart money was on Ferguson leading into the fight. Ferguson hadn’t lost in eight years, and many believed that he was the best lightweight in the world. Gaethje might have been the most exciting fighter in the world, but his reckless style has caused him to drop a few of his bigger fights. However, it became very apparent from the beginning, this was not the old Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje immediately took the center of the octagon throwing sharp and crisp combinations at Ferguson. “El Cucuy” was fully prepared to go to war firing back. The first round was action packed with Gaethje hitting Ferguson often. However, most got the sense that Gaethje would slow down as the fight went on. In the second round, Ferguson picked up his pace and dropped Gaethje near the end of the round.

Personally, I thought Ferguson was going to assume control, but that wasn’t the case. Gaethje came right out in the third with the same pace he started with. However, he was much more calculated. Gaethje was smart and picked his shots wisely against the former UFC interim champion, Ferguson. After putting on a clinic in the later rounds, Gaethje smashed Ferguson’s nose which caused Ferguson to turn away. The referee stopped the fight giving Gaethje the interim title. Both men threw everything they had at the other in an absolute war for five rounds, but on May 9th, Justin Gaethje was the better man.

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker – UFC on ESPN 12

Man, I think I’m still recovering from this one. This past Saturday at UFC on ESPN 12, Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) and Dan Hooker (20-9) put on an absolute show. The fight was booked earlier in the summer after Hooker had called Poirier out back in February. Poirier was coming off a title shot against Nurmagomedov, and was looking to get back to victory. A win for either man would put them squarely in title contention.

There was really no feeling out process with this fight. After throwing big kicks early, both men looked to focus completely on the other man’s face. In the first two rounds, Hooker did a fantastic job of landing clean and precise shots. Poirier was landing his shots too, but Hooker seemed to have the cleaner lands. Several times early, both men ended up in close quarters just throwing reckless power shots at the other.

Late in the second round, Hooker unleashed a combination that would have put most lightweights down. In fact, if it wasn’t for the cage, I’m not sure Poirier would have stayed on his feet. Poirier went back to his stool down to rounds to the contender from New Zealand. At this point, I thought we were looking at the next UFC title contender in Dan Hooker.

Starting in the third round, Poirier drastically turned the tables. Both men were still throwing all they had at the other, but it was Poirier who was now landing the cleaner shots on Hooker. Both men really started to fatigue in the middle rounds, but Poirier seemed to have just a little more in the tank.

The last two rounds were where Poirier really won the fight. Hooker had slowed massively, and Poirier was taking advantage. Despite getting caught a few times coming in, Poirier’s relentless pace took over in the later rounds. Both men were absolutely battered coming down the stretch of this one.

The fight went to the scorecards and all three judges gave the fight to Poirier. Hooker had won the first two rounds on all scorecards, but Poirier won the final three rounds. A tremendous back and forth battle that will go down as one of the better fights in UFC history.

Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC 248

You really can’t get much better than the fight between UFC strawweight champion, Weili Zhang (22-1), and former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). A few years ago, Jedrzejczyk was known as the best female fighter in the sport. Since losing the title back in 2017, Jedrzejczyk has desperately tried to get back to UFC gold. UFC 248 gave her the chance.

Weili Zhang is the first UFC champion to be born in China. She is turning into a superstar, but she needed an opponent that could truly shine a light on her greatness. She found that opponent back in March when she took on the former champion, Jedrzejczyk.

This fight was so special because it was on the highest of levels, and the action was non-stop. From the opening bell, both ladies threw precise combinations at the other. The pace was unlike anything that I had ever seen in a title fight. Both women were putting everything on their shots, but it wasn’t wild.

This was a striking match on the highest of levels. Jedrzejczyk was really light on her feet throughout the entire fight landing great shots from the outside. Zhang did a tremendous job at stepping in and countering as Jedrzejczyk threw. Both women hit the other frequently, and they hit each other clean. Watching this fight you just had to keep wondering when someone was going to get tired.

All the way into the championship rounds, the women never slowed down. Both ladies pushed forward throwing everything. You had spinning attacks, leg kicks, head kicks, straights, uppercuts, hooks, you know it. It was a striking clinic put on by both women. Both women were visibly beat up, and the fight was razor close.

Entering the final round, I don’t think anyone knew who was winning. The fight was dead even at all times. Every time one woman would land, the other would land a counter. The UFC fans were getting spoiled back in March. In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight to the champion, Weili Zhang. The fight was truly one of the best fights I had ever seen, and it was at the highest level of the sport for a UFC title.

The UFC’s FOTY in 2020 (So far)

All three of these contenders are excellent fights, but if I’m going to give the award, it’s going to Zhang and Jedrzejczyk. The fight was truly a thing of beauty. The perfect balance of technique and violence. It never turned into a brawl where technique went out the window, but you would think with the damage that both women suffered, it was a massive brawl with no defense on display. Also the fact that it was for the title puts it over the top. Women’s MMA has come so far over the last few years, but the fight that Zhang/Jedrzejczyk put on back at UFC 248 is the greatest female fight of all time, and it’s not close in my opinion.

UFC on ESPN 12 Recap: Dustin Poirier edges Dan Hooker in instant classic

Dustin Poirier, UFC

UFC on ESPN 12 was the final card on US soil before the UFC takes it’s talents to Fight Island in July. The main event of the evening featured a big-time lightweight contest between Dustin Poirier (25-6, 1 NC) and Dan Hooker (20-8). The card had six main card fights, and the card was filled with action from start to finish.

Poirier & Hooker put on an instant classic

The main event of the evening was one of the more anticipated fights of the summer. The winner of the Poirier/Hooker fight might be the next person in-line of the UFC title shot if Conor McGregor stays retired. Hooker called out Poirier because he felt that Poirier would be a good style matchup for him, and he felt he would be the perfect opponent to vault him towards a title shot. Poirier, who was coming off of the longest layoff of his career, was looking to get back on track after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov last September.

Both men came out of the gate with big kicks. Hooker continued to throw nice leg kicks throughout the first minute of the round. Hooker was doing a really good job early at fighting from range. Hooker’s jab looked sharp early on. With about 90 seconds left in the round, both men exchanged in close quarters. Both men landed some massive shots, but neither man seemed hurt. Razor close round in the first, but I might lean towards Hooker in the first.

In the second round, Hooker came out immediately with range strikes. Poirier seemingly rocked Hooker for just a second, but then Hooker landed some massive counters which seemed to hurt Poirier. The two men got in close quarters again, and both men unloaded massive shots on the other. Both men landed clean shots, but again, neither man seemed seriously hurt. The rest of the round both men continued to land bombs. With about 30 seconds left in the round, Hooker unleashed an insane combination that rocked Poirier. Poirier was able to stay on his feet, but Hooker landed some serious shots at the end of the round.

The paced slowed as the third round started. Both men kept an insane pace in the first couple of rounds. However, with about three minutes left in the round, Poirier landed some massive shots. Hooker shot in for a takedown, but he shot right into a guillotine choke. The choke was incredibly tight, but Hooker fought out of it. Hooker stayed on top, but with a minute left, the two men ended up back on their feet. Once they were, Poirier landed a few massive shots, but Hooker just ate them. The round ended with both men exchanging.

The pace slowed significantly entering the fourth round. Both men plotted around the cage for the first minute. After Poirier landed a couple of solid straight shots, Hooker was able to get a brief takedown. Poirier got back up to his feet, but Hooker shot immediately for another takedown. However, Poirier was the one who was able to get a takedown. Once on the ground, Poirier landed some big shots then came close to securing an armbar. With 30 seconds left, Poirier tried to get another guillotine, but couldn’t lock it up. Incredible fight that I had 2-2 going into the fifth round.

Both men looked incredibly exhausted as the fifth round started. Both men started flat footed just plotting forward. Poirier was landing some clean shots throughout the first half of the round. With about three minutes left, Poirier landed some big shots. However, Hooker was able to shoot in and secure a takedown. Poirier did get back up to his feet shortly after. Poirier landed some clean shots and Hooker continued to look for the takedown. With about thirty seconds left, Poirier was able to transition a choke attempt into a takedown. Poirier spent the rest of the round in top position. An instant classic that I gave to Poirier 48-47. In the end the judges agreed giving the fight to Poirier (48-47, 48-47, 48-46). Poirier looks primed for another shot at the UFC lightweight title.

Mike Perry dominates Mickey Gall

The co-main event of the evening was contested between Mike Perry (13-6) and Mickey Gall (6-2). This fight was one of the more anticipated matchups on the card not just because of the fight, but because of the fact that the only person in Perry’s corner was his girlfriend.

When the fight started, Perry immediately came forward with big shots. Gall did a pretty good job early of staying on his bicycle, but Perry was just walking him down. However, about halfway through the first, Gall landed some big shots which changed the momentum. Gall did a really good job of landing some straight shots while Perry was looping with hooks. Late in the round, Perry landed a massive takedown, and he controlled the rest of the round from the top position.

As the second round started, Gall looked to continue landing some good shots from the outside. After landing a couple of good shots, Gall shot in for a takedown, but Perry was able to use his strength to fight it off. Perry was then able to land a takedown of his own. Gall was able to use a kimura attempt to get back to his feet. Once the two men got back to their feet, Gall tried again for a takedown, but he wasn’t able to land it. With about 20 seconds left in the round, Perry was able to land a massive right hand which put Gall down. The round ended with Perry landing a massive elbow from the top.

In the third round, Perry started by throwing some bigger combinations. Gall was still moving good, but Perry seemed to sense Gall slowing down. Perry landed some nice jabs throughout the first half of the final round. Gall was visibly tired in the third round often backing away from exchanges with deep breaths. With about two minutes left in the round, Perry was able to get another takedown. With a minute left, Perry was able to get to the mount position. Perry landed some nasty elbows. After a scramble, Gall had a triangle choke locked in, but didn’t have the strength to finish it. I gave Perry all three rounds in what was a dominant performance. The judges gave Perry the unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Greene submits Villante after being dropped in the 3rd

One of the more interesting fights of the main card featured heavyweights Gian Villante (17-12) and Maurice Greene (9-4). Villante was making his UFC heavyweight debut after spending years in the light heavyweight division. Early on in the first round, Greene was fully using is 80-inch reach. Greene was also landing some nice kicks as Villante was trying to gauge the range. Villante was able to land some decent leg kicks, but struggled to get much going in the first. Greene was able to land at a much higher rate throughout the round. However, Villante did land a nasty body kick near the end of the first which looked to hurt Greene.

In the second round, Greene continued to be more aggressive in the standup. Greene came out throwing combination after combination while Villante seemed to be looking for one big shot. There was no question that Villante was throwing with more power, but Greene had such a higher output in the first half of the second round. Villante did do a good job of landing some solid shots in the second. While Greene had the higher output, the judges might give the second to Villante due to the pop that was on the shots that he landed.

Villante came right out and landed two massive right hands to begin the round. Right when Villante was starting to get some momentum, he caught an accidental eye poke which paused the action. When they resumed the fight, Greene missed a superman punch, and Villante countered with a massive left that floored Greene. Villante followed-up with some vicious elbows. Greene did a good job of catching Villante’s wrist and defending which held off Villante from finishing the fight. Out of nowhere from his back, Greene was able to lock up a head and arm choke. The choke didn’t look tight, but Villante tapped giving Greene the impressive and odd submission victory.

Allen edges Daukaus in entertaining scrap

The third fight of the main card featured middleweights Brendan Allen (15-3) and Kyle Daukaus (9-1). Allen was supposed to take on Ian Heinisch, but due to an injury, Daukaus was able to get the opportunity in his UFC debut. Right out of the gate Daukaus landed a massive body kick and left hook. Daukaus then tried to shoot in for a takedown, but Allen was able to keep it standing. Shortly after, Allen landed a massive knee that floored Daukaus. After having Daukaus’ back for about a minute, Allen was reversed. Daukaus took Allen’s back, and then Allen was able to reverse the position again. Once back on top, Allen landed a massive elbow that cut Daukaus as the round ended.

In the second round, Daukaus was actually getting the better of the stand up landing some really clean shots. Daukaus shot in for a takedown, but Allen was able to use a guillotine choke to reverse the position to get back on top. Both men were showing excellent grappling throughout the fight. Halfway through the second round, Daukaus reversed the position again to get back on top of Allen. However, Allen was able to reverse the position again with about a minute left in the round, and he held the top position the rest of the round.

In the third round, Daukaus came out again looking sharp on his feet. After landing a couple of shots, Daukaus was able to land a takedown. Daukaus was able to land some solid elbows before getting to Allen’s back. After having back control for most of the final round, Daukaus lost the position late, and Allen was able to get off some solid shots. Despite those, the last round was a clear round for Daukaus and I scored the fight 29-28 for Brendan Allen. The judges were unanimous in giving the decision to Allen (29-28, 29-27, 30-27).

Takashi Sato stops Jason Witt in the 1st round

The second fight of the main card featured two talented welterweights as Takashi Sato (16-3) took on UFC newcomer, Jason Witt (17-6). Early on in the first round, Witt took the center of the octagon. However, Sato landed a massive 1-2 which floored the UFC newcomer. Witt tried to shoot in for a takedown as Sato rushed him, but Sato landed a few more clean shots which ended the fight. A big bounce back win for Sato after losing his last fight to Belal Muhammad.

Erosa gets dropped then submits Woodson in the 3rd

The opening fight of the UFC on ESPN 12 main card was a catchweight contest between the undefeated Sean Woodson (7-1) and Julian Erosa (23-8). Erosa came into the fight with his back against the wall losing his last three fights, while Woodson was looking to remain unbeaten. When the first round started, Woodson immediately took the center of the octagon. Woodson has an astonishing 78 inch reach advantage which was giving Erosa a lot of problems in the first round. Erosa was able to land some solid leg kicks, but the first round belonged to Woodson who was constantly touching Erosa with some solid straight shots.

To start the second round, Erosa tried to put more pressure on Woodson to neutralize the range. Erosa even shot in for a takedown. Erosa continued throughout the round trying to add a ton of pressure on Woodson. However, Woodson did a really good shot at continuing to land straight shots. Woodson doesn’t hit with a lot of pop, but he is consistent with his contact. Erosa’s pressure along with some timely clean shots made the round extremely competitive. Woodson landed his shots, but the round really could have gone to either man.

In the third round, Erosa continued to pressure Woodson. However, when rushing forward, Erosa was clipped with a massive left hook from Woodson which floored him. Erosa immediately got to his feet, and went back to pressuring Woodson. Despite the pressure, Woodson did a really good job of landing straights and check hooks. Halfway through the round, Erosa was able to secure a takedown. Woodson worked his way up to his feet, but got caught in a D’Arce choke. Erosa was able to lock it up and finish the fight. An incredible performance for Erosa who was the biggest underdog on the card this evening.

Final Takeaways from UFC on ESPN 12

The main event was one of the best fights that I have ever seen. Both men exchanged massive shots throughout, but neither man hit the canvas. Dustin Poirier looks like he’s ready for another shot at the title. I think a fight with Conor McGregor would be perfect, but we will see what the UFC decides to do. From here, we go onto Fight Island for an insane month of July.

UFC on ESPN 12 Preview: Dustin Poirier & Dan Hooker battle for a potential lightweight title shot

Dustin Poirier, UFC

UFC on ESPN 12 is the last event that we will see on US soil until August. The UFC is leaving the US on a high night with a main event that features two lightweight contenders battling it out for a potential title shot. Former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier (25-6, 1 NC), will be taking on Dan Hooker (20-8). The card is really solid this weekend, and fight fans should be getting excited. With that, let’s dive into the main card and breakdown this Saturday’s action.

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker

In the main event of the evening, you have one of the more anticipated matchups of the summer. Dustin Poirier is returning for the first time since he lost to the champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, back at UFC 242. Prior to the loss, nobody in the UFC was hotter than Poirier. Taking out the no contest against Eddie Alvarez, Poirier had won five fights in a row including wins over Max Holloway, Alvarez, and Justin Gaethje. Poirier proved that he was definitely one of the best fighters in the world. Poirier has all the makings of a champion, but he ran into a Russian Bear last September. Poirier is looking to get back into the win column Saturday night, but he’s got another tall order on his hands.

Dan Hooker has completely turned his career around since moving to lightweight. After a 3-3 start to his UFC career, Hooker is 7-1 since moving to 155 pounds. Hooker has wins over guys like Paul Felder, Al Iaquinta, and Gilbert Burns. Hooker is looking to use this fight to springboard himself into lightweight contention. If he’s able to defeat Dustin Poirier, there is no denying Hooker any longer.

When it comes to the fight, I see this fight taking place on the feet. Both guys are going to look to trade. Early on, I really like Hooker to establish his jab and range. I think you’re going to see Hooker have some early success in this fight. However, one thing that concerns me is Hooker’s ability to get hit. Dustin Poirier is a better and faster striker than Paul Felder. Poirier also has more power in his hands than Felder. Felder was able to land some bombs on Hooker in their razor close fight. While I think Hooker will have his moments, I think Poirier is going to be too much for him. I think in the middle rounds, Poirier is going to land something big, and I think Poirier is going to get the finish in this one.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier by TKO – Round 4

Mike Perry vs Mickey Gall

The co-main event of the evening features a welterweight contest between “Platinum” Mike Perry (13-6) and Mickey Gall (6-2). There are not a lot of tougher guys in the UFC than Mike Perry. He’s truly a unique guy with a pretty good all around skillset. Perry has good wrestling, and he has really good power on his feet. Yes he’s lost three of his last four, but they are to some top notch guys like Cowboy Cerrone and Geoff Neal. Perry is making headlines in this fight because the only corner member he will have on Saturday night will be his girlfriend. He is out to prove that he doesn’t need any coaches to fight and look good doing it.

Mickey Gall is a very interesting story. He became famous after calling out and defeating CM Punk in the UFC. After beating CM Punk, Gall was able to defeat Sage Northcutt. It seemed like Gall was on the rise. However, Gall has since gone 2-2, and even in the wins, he hasn’t looked impressive. His lst fight against Salim Touahri was troubling. Gall didn’t look fluid on his feet, and his cardio was not there. In the fight before, Gall was completed dominated by an old Diego Sanchez. This is a really tough matchup for Mickey Gall, and I’m having a hard time seeing how he wins this fight. Even with no one besides his girlfriend in his corner, I think Perry runs away with this one.

Prediction: Mike Perry by TKO – Round 2

Brendan Allen vs Kyle Daukaus

The next fight of the main card is a middleweight contest between Brendan Allen (14-3) and UFC newcomer, Kyle Daukaus (9-0). Allen comes into this fight as one of the more talked about prospects in the UFC’s middleweight division. He’s come right out of the gate with two strong wins in the UFC with neither going to the scorecards. Allen has good striking, good wrestling, and very good decisions. He’s very strong for this weight class, and there are not a ton of weaknesses in his game. It’s a very tough draw for Daukaus who is going to be making his UFC debut.

Originally, Ian Heinisch was supposed to be fighting Brendan Allen in a battle of top fifteen middleweights. However, injury pulled Heinisch off the cards which gave Daukaus the golden opportunity. Daukaus has fought on the Contender Series, but this fight will be his UFC debut. His Contender fight is still the only fight that has gone the distance in his professional career. Daukaus has nine submissions wins, and he’s extremely slick on the ground. If the fight ends up on the ground, he’s got a great chance at pulling the upset. The problem for Daukaus is he’s not as good of a striker or wrestler as Allen. He’s also not as strong as Allen. It’s going to be very difficult for Daukaus to get this fight on the ground. As a result, I think Allen is going to cruise to victory, and look to get that fight with Heinisch rescheduled.

Prediction: Brendan Allen by TKO – Round 3

Gian Villante vs Maurice Greene

In the second fight on the main card we have Gian Villante (17-11) moving up to heavyweight to take on Maurice Greene (8-4). Villante is one of the more seasoned guys on the UFC roster. Villante has been in the UFC for over seven years. He’s had highlights such as his knockout win over Corey Anderson, but he’s also had some low moments like getting knocked out by Michal Oleksiejczuk in the first round. Villante is a sprawl and brawl kind of fighter. He wants to stand and trade with anyone standing across from him. His striking skills are not bad, but they are also not elite in any way.

After winning his first three UFC fights, Maurce Greene has lost his last two fights. He was stopped in one fight and submitted in the other. Greene has a decent overall game, and he trains with one of the best gyms in the world, Jackson’s MMA, alongside Jon Jones. Greene has the big size advantage in this fight, and I think fighting off his jab is going to be key. Greene has shown at times that he does possess a very solid jab. Both of these men don’t have the best gas tanks in the world. As of today, I’m leaning towards this fight going the distance. I think Villante is going to have his moments, but I think ultimately Maurice Greene is going to score more leading to a victory.

Prediction: Maurice Greene by Unanimous Decision

Sean Woodson vs Julian Erosa

The main card on ESPN kicks off with a catchweight contest between Sean Woodson (7-0) and Julian Erosa (22-8). Woodson is one of the more interesting fighters in the UFC’s lower weight classes. While he fights at featherweight, Woodson stands an astonishing 6’3. There has been a lot said about how brutal the weight cut is for him. However, the size advantage comes into play nicely for him at 145 pounds. Woodson is a pretty good kick-boxer who likes to strike from range. It’s hard for anyone in the UFC’s featherweight division to get near him when he’s sporting a 78 inch range.

Julian Erosa is in his second stent in the UFC. Erosa is a guy who likes to use his striking, and he’s pretty aggressive in the octagon. Erosa got his second opportunity in the UFC after he knocked out Jamall Emmers on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. After getting back into the UFC, Erosa is 0-3 getting stopped twice. While Erosa fights at a high pace, I think he’s going to have a ton of trouble overcoming the four inch reach disadvantage. Woodson is not a finisher, and I don’t think a finish is coming in this fight, but I think Woodson’s ability to strike from range is going to be the deciding factor in this one.

Prediction: Sean Woodson by Unanimous Decision

UFC on ESPN 12 Outlook

I’m really excited about this weekend’s card. I’m very interested in the main event, but there are fights throughout the evening I’m excited about. I’m very anxious to watch Jinh Yu Frey and Kay Hansen fight it out. That is a fight that I would prefer to see on the main card over a couple of those fights. Ultimately folks are going to tune in for the Poirier/Hooker fight, and I don’t blame them. It should be a good fight, and one that you won’t want to turn away from.

UFC: For Dan Hooker, Saturday night is his chance to prove he’s championship material

UFC on ESPN 12 is being headlined by a lightweight matchup with huge implications. The former interim champion, Dustin Poirier (25-6), is looking to get back to a title shot after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov last September. In the other corner, you have Dan Hooker (20-8) who is looking to prove that he belongs with the absolute best in the world.

Early Struggles

Hooker will be making the walk for the fifteenth time in his UFC career on Saturday night. His fifteenth UFC fight comes almost six years to the day after his debut back in June of 2014. Hooker started his career in the UFC‘s featherweight division. Hooker was massive for the division, and he always seemed depleted due to the harsh weight cut. At 145 pounds, Hooker went just 3-3 in six fights. After the struggles, Hooker decided to make the move to lightweight, and that has turned his entire career around.

Journey to the top of the UFC’s Lightweight Division

Since Hooker made the jump to 155, he’s been one of the best guys in the division. Since that jump back in 2017, Hooker has gone 7-1 with five finishes. Hooker looks completely refreshed at lightweight. He had one bad performance against Edson Barboza, but outside of that, he’s looked incredible. The fight against Poirier on Saturday night is the biggest fight of Hooker’s career. Hooker has stated over and over again that he truly believes he’s one of the best in the world. Saturday night is his chance to prove it.

If he can go out and beat Dustin Poirier, he’s on the short list to face the winner of Khabib/Gaethje. If he doesn’t want to wait, maybe Dana White would be enticed to pair up Hooker and Conor McGregor. McGregor retired due to the lack of options from the UFC. Hooker would be just the kind of guy you would want to pair up against the Notorious one. A win on Saturday night changes everything for Dan Hooker. Check out “The Hangman’s” last performance against Paul Felder below.

UFC: Ian Heinisch gets quick turnaround; fights Brendan Allen on June 27

What a month it’s been for UFC middleweight Ian Heinisch. First, he has a cornerman test positive for COVID-19 which led to the UFC pulling him off the UFC 250 card. Then he gets the news that the test was a false positive so the fight was back on. He then went on to knock out Gerald Meerschaert in the first round. After all that, he has decided to take on another fight this month against Meerschaert’s teammate.

Heinisch looking for two wins in one month

The UFC has booked Heinisch (14-3) and Brendan Allen (14-3) for UFC Fight Night 174 on June 27th. Heinisch made a big statement with his win at UFC 250. Heinisch came into that fight with his back up against a wall after losing two consecutive fights. Heinisch had a ton of momentum before that losing streak, and he needed to get back to his winning ways. Heinisch spent some time in Thailand working on his skills prior to the event. The training paid off and Heinisch looked better than ever. He will now look to win his second fight in the month of June.

Brendan Allen looks to join the ranks

For Allen, he’s looking to continue his winning streak and avenge his teammate in this fight. Since winning his fight on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Allen has gone 2-0 in the UFC with two finishes. Heinisch is the first opponent in the top 15 for Allen. This would be a massive win for Allen which would launch him into the top 15 in the UFC’s middleweight division.

UFC Fight Night 174, which is headlined by Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker, is coming together nicely for the promotion. The card also features great matchups including: Aspen Ladd/Sara McMann and Mike Perry/Mickey Gall. This last card for the month of June is the perfect springboard for what should be an insane month of July for the UFC.

Dustin Poirier & Dan Hooker to Headline UFC’s June 27th Card

Dustin Poirier, UFC

A big fight in the UFC’s lightweight division is coming together to headline the UFC’s June 27th fight night card. Former title challenger, Dustin Poirier (25-6), is making his return to action following his title defeat last year at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.

Poirier will be facing off against Dan Hooker (20-8), who is coming off a split-decision victory over Paul Felder back in February, which was his third consecutive win. This is a massive fight for the lightweight division, considering both of these guys are currently in the top five in the UFC’s lightweight rankings.

For Poirier, this is a fight that can get him back on track. He was on an absolute tear prior to getting handled by the champion, Nurmagomedov. Poirier had wins over Max Holloway and current interim champion, Justin Gaethje. Poirier believes he didn’t show the best version of himself in his title loss to Nurmagomedov. This matchup is an excellent opportunity for Poirier to show off his skills in an impressive fashion, which could get him right back into title contention.

Step Up for The Hangman

For Dan Hooker, this is the chance that he’s been waiting on. Since 2017, Hooker has gone 7-1 with his lone loss being to Edson Barboza. Hooker has beaten Gilbert Burns, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder during that stretch. The Hangman is no joke, and this is his chance to really make a case for him being one of the best in the world.

This fight is very interesting, given the skill sets of both guys. You are likely going to see a standup war, and it should be a lot of fun. While they both have a 72-inch reach, Hooker seems to fight more to his height. He uses his legs a lot to keep his distance with calf kicks, but Poirier is one of the best in the business when it comes to getting inside and land some big shots. It’s going to be a fun fight to breakdown as we get closer to that event, but this is one that UFC fans should circle on their calendars. Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker are going to put on a show in a fight that is going to have a pretty big impact on the UFCs lightweight division.