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.