UFC on ESPN 12: Poirier vs. Hooker Predictions


The UFC is back in action, as the Apex plays host to yet another fun card. Headlining the event is a pair of Lightweight contenders in former Interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. Since August of 2013, Poirier is 12-3-1 in the UFC, beating some of the very best. During that stretch, Poirier made the move to Lightweight. It couldn’t of been a smarter choice, as he took out legends along the way to becoming the Interim Lightweight Champion. As for Hooker, he too was a former Featherweight. And he too was killing himself to make weight. Since the move back up to Lightweight, Hooker is 7-1. With both men in their respective weight classes, they clearly are at their best. So don’t blink in this one because I’m expecting an instant classic.

UFC on ESPN 12 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET):

155 lbs.: Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker – This has all the making to be a classic. Hooker is streaking right now, showing improvements with each fight. His counter striking is some of the best in the UFC. He features durability, devastating knees and precision striking. He notably is the last man to defeat Gilbert Burns too, which came via knockout. As for Poirier, he returns to the octagon for the first time since losing the title fight against Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Poirier is one of the best boxers in the UFC. He throws strikes in volume, has ridiculous cardio and is very durable. If beating the likes of Max Holloway twice, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis doesn’t prove he’s in a class above many, I don’t know what will.

As for a prediction, I have Poirier. In Hooker’s last fight against Paul Felder, while he looked sharp, he faded towards the end of the fight. That won’t fly against Poirier. The “Diamond” is a cardio machine, who puts a pace and pressure on his foes that physically breaks them. In what should be a fun fight, with both men having their moments, I’ll take Poirier and the ability to be the fresher fighter in the championship rounds winning via late TKO.

170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. Mike Perry – Maybe I’m not seeing what others are, but Gall gets dealt with here. I mean, Gall is young and still inexperienced. He has a great ground game, but his wrestling isn’t all there yet. His cardio and striking are real iffy too. Throw in the fact that of Gall’s five victories, not one of the opponents he beat are still in the UFC. On the other hand, Perry has fought the likes of Donald Cerrone, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Vicente Luque, Geoff Neal and even beaten Paul Felder, Alex Oliveira and Jake Ellenberger. With pretty good takedown defense and an ability to pop right back up, Perry keeps this on the feet. While there, it’s only a matter of a time before he folds Gall. So with that, I have Perry winning via knockout.

185 lbs.: Brendan Allen vs. Kyle Daukaus – Allen is the real deal at 185 lbs. To come into the UFC and finish two talented foes in Kevin Holland and Tom Breese is major statement. While anything can happen, I think Daukaus O has to go here. So with that, I believe Allen on the strength of his grappling gets this done via submission.

265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Gian Villante – I’m not sure this move up to Heavyweight is what the doctor ordered for Villante, but we shall see. Green is a big heavyweight, whom isn’t really dominant at one aspect, but has a grasp on everything. The one thing that irks me about Greene, is that he gets dropped a lot. Not sure if it’s a chin thing or what, but it’s a glaring problem. Now, Villante isn’t a world class striker, but he’s got power. On a limb here, I’ll go with Villante based on said power via TKO.

150 lbs.: Sean Woodson vs. Julian Erosa – Woodson is just the better all around mixed martial arts. His striking features volume, which is credited by his usual height and reach advantage. I mean, the dude is a Featherweight and somehow is 6’2 with a 79.5 inch reach. That’s just absurd. Anyways, Erosa has yet to have any success in the UFC and I don’t see this short notice fight changing that. So with that, I have Woodson winning via late TKO.

UFC on ESPN 12 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):

155 lbs.: Luis Pena vs. Khama Worthy – The battle of the nicknames, as “Violent Bob Ross” take on the “Deathstar”. As far as the fight goes, I’ve got Pena. Worthy stormed into the UFC with a stunning knockout upset over Devonte Smith. On the regional scene, Worthy was knocking foes out, be he too was getting knocked out. In fact, all six of his losses have come via finish (five by knockout). Given Pena’s durability, I really don’t see Worthy finishing Pena. I see the opposite. Pena has excellent cardio and is well rounded. His height and reach will allow him to keep distance and pick apart Worthy. Eventually, I see Pena landing a flying knee or something crazy and winning via knockout.

265 lbs.: Tanner Boser vs. Philipe Lins – While Lins looked iffy in his debut, I’ve got him here. Boser is too flat footed and while he does boast good cardio and good leg kicks for a Heavyweight, he lacks the power to change a fight. On the other hand, Lins has good power and he’s a sharp counter striker. I’m not sure what happened in his fight against Andrei Arlovski, but I expect a better showing here. So with that, I have Lin’s winning via decision.

170 lbs.: Takashi Sato vs. Jason Witt – Witt looks to have some pop in hands, but he’s a wrestler and submission artist at trade. Given the short notice of this fight, I really don’t see his cardio being up to par to outlast Sato. He might come out like a bat at of hell early, but I trust the durability, striking and power of Sato to get the job done. So with that, I have Sato winning via TKO.

145 lbs.: Jordan Griffin vs. Youssef Zalal – While I like Griffin’s forward pressure and movement, it’s his inability to stay off his back that irks me. Zalal offers a nice mix of striking and wrestling, which ultimately has me siding him. The cardio of Zalal too is impressive and in the later rounds will prove to aide him in edging out the round via decision.

115 lbs.: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Kay Hansen – This fight should be close, as Frey has the upper hand with experience and striking, while Hansen has the wrestling and size advantage. While Frey has fought the better opponents, Hansen takes this fight. Her grit, wrestling and the fact that Frey is moving up a weight class are signs that point me towards Hansen winning via decision.

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