With the final of 5 straight weeks of Saturdays with UFC playing cards on the schedule, the one factor everyone seems to be hoping for is a aggressive and memorable foremost occasion.
On the final Jacksonville present, Alistair Overeem’s TKO win over Walt Harris was overshadowed by Harris’s emotional return to motion after the tragic dying of his stepdaughter, and within the weeks that adopted followers needed to slog by means of two one-sided, show-closing beatdowns (Gilbert Burns vs. Tyron Woodley, Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer) and a headliner that was mild on hype and motion (Cynthia Calvillo vs. Jessica Eye).
Nevertheless, with UFC on ESPN 12 set to function lightweights Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker in the primary occasion, it seems that followers will head into the pre-“Battle Island” break with a five-round struggle that’s positive to fulfill. Not solely are Poirier and Hooker two of essentially the most confirmed opponents in all of MMA relating to placing on thrilling fights, they’re each angling for an eventual title shot too. They might not be extra motivated.
Regardless of not having the identical rankings implications, Saturday’s co-main occasion between Mike Perry and Mickey Gall is excessive on intrigue. Two welterweights who’ve made essentially the most of their digicam time and social media presence, Perry and Gall deliver loads of unhealthy blood into the cage; in Perry’s case, that and his girlfriend Latory Gonzalez are just about the one issues he’s taking with him to the cage as he’s eschewed a standard nook for this matchup.
In different foremost card motion, Gian Villante strikes as much as the heavyweight division to struggle Maurice Greene, rising middleweight Brendan Allen appears to go 3-Zero when he faces prime prospect and short-notice alternative Kyle Daukaus, 2018 PFL heavyweight champion Philipe Lins seeks his first UFC win when he faces Canadian Tanner Boser, and Sean Woodson meets short-notice alternative Julian Erosa in a 150-pound catchweight bout.
What: UFC on ESPN 12
The place: UFC APEX in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, June 27. Your complete occasion will air on ESPN and ESPN+, with the four-fight preliminaries beginning at 6 p.m. ET, and the six-fight foremost card beginning at eight p.m. ET.
Dustin Poirier has extra methods to win.
It doesn’t matter what, that is going to be a enjoyable struggle, particularly when you think about that in some unspecified time in the future Poirier will most likely eschew no matter sport plan he has and simply throw down with Dan Hooker. He’s a person of the individuals, if nothing else.
He has a giant benefit within the grappling division although and whereas working his well past the lengthy, slicing limbs of Hooker goes to be sheer hell, Poirier has the toughness to climate the storm till he will get to the place he desires to go. Whether or not that’s in shut the place he can mild Hooker up with combos or take Hooker down, it’s for Poirier to resolve.
That mentioned, Hooker is as reside a canine as they arrive. If Poirier can’t management Hooker within the clinch, “The Hangman” goes to annihilate Poirier with knees and elbows. It doesn’t matter how sturdy Poirier is, even the very best lightweights can solely take a lot punishment from Hooker when he will get rolling.
Poirier ought to be capable of stop that from occurring, so I like him to manage the tempo of the struggle and discover a end within the third or fourth spherical.
Mickey Gall confirmed quite a lot of enhancements in his final struggle in opposition to Salim Touahri, particularly in proving that he might go the gap in a busy three-round struggle. However I don’t know if he has what it takes to outlast the rock-headed Mike Perry.
Sure, I do know Perry goes right into a struggle with out his coaches in his nook which, sure, on paper is insane. Nevertheless, nothing about Perry’s method to the struggle sport is orthodox and regardless that heading into such a pivotal bout with solely an untrained liked one in your nook sounds, once more, insane, it will be traditional Perry for him to placed on a job-saving efficiency with out pesky distractions like grappling directions and high quality mid-fight recommendation.
Plus, he punches actually laborious. That could be a reductive analysis of Perry’s abilities, however he’s at all times been blessed with pure energy and that’s one thing Gall hasn’t needed to cope with a lot in his temporary profession to date. Gall’s chin might be examined, particularly with the smaller cage on the APEX.
In fact, all of this can be a moot level if the bigger Gall secures a takedown early and exploits Perry’s weaknesses on the mat. We might simply as simply see Gall win a first-round submission as we might Perry profitable a three-round battle.
I’m anticipating essentially the most MMA factor doable to occur, which is Perry selecting up a win and celebrating along with his girlfriend to rub it within the face of all of the doubters in “the so-called MMA media.”
You recognize what you’re getting with Gian Villante. He desires to come back ahead, put stress on his opponents, and hunt for a knockout. He additionally has main defensive deficiencies and I’m undecided a return to heavyweight goes to repair them.
Maurice Greene has been unpredictable in his UFC profession to date. He’s adept at combating on the bottom, however he’s additionally proven he has some pop in his fingers and he would possibly wish to see if he can reap the benefits of his attain early on to check Villante’s chin. Although he enjoys a superb brawl, Villante is prone to the knockout.
Coming off of a close to 500-day layoff would possibly truly be a optimistic for Villante, who has been in his share of tough three-round scraps. Might a revitalized Villante shock Greene and spark him within the first? I wouldn’t guess on it, however it’s within the realm of risk.
Greene’s protection ought to maintain up in opposition to no matter Villante has to supply early and so long as he doesn’t let his admitted wild aspect get the very best of him, he’ll choose up the win.
Moreover the primary occasion, this bout between Brendan Allen and Kyle Daukaus could be essentially the most troublesome to foretell.
As promising a prospect as Daukaus is, asking him to make his debut on lower than two weeks’ discover in opposition to an opponent of Allen’s caliber is an excessive amount of to ask (not that Allen has had a lot time to arrange himself). Each fighters are glorious grapplers who know how one can use their power to impose their will within the clinch. Search for them to spend so much of time battling for underhooks and angling for journeys, whereas blasting one another with brief elbows and punches. It’s going to be a grueling struggle, which is the place Daukaus’s lack of prep time will value him.
Offensive wrestling might be a key issue right here in addition to neither excels at establishing takedowns with their placing. Not that it ought to matter a lot since they’re going to be proper in one another’s faces from the opening bell.
Expertise counts and whereas Daukaus could have his day, I like Allen to win this one by choice.
These are two heavyweights trying to bounce again from flat performances after coming into the UFC with some fanfare.
Lins turned a millionaire and a notable title in a single day after profitable 4 fights in 2018 to grow to be the inaugural PFL heavyweight champion. He was matched up with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski for his UFC debut, and whereas he had his moments, he was out-struck by the seasoned vet. Lins compliments strong technical placing with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and will current quite a lot of issues for Tanner Boser.
Boser was some of the talked about heavyweights on the Canadian regional scene earlier than making his UFC debut with a principally uneventful win over Daniel Spitz. In his sophomore outing, he didn’t impress in opposition to Ciryl Gane and now he and Lins are each doubtless combating for his or her jobs.
This one ought to keep on the ft, the place Lins’ consistency offers him the sting. Boser is mild on his ft and has quick fingers for a heavyweight, however he tends to get wild and Lins will punish him if he’s off-balance. With Boser prone to be urgent ahead, it behooves Lins to stay calm and counter-punch his method to a win.
Lins by choice.
Sean Woodson vs. Julian Erosa
Whereas it’s a disgrace that visa points knocked Kyle Nelson out of this matchup, having Julian Erosa step in to struggle Sean Woodson offers us a distinctly distinctive model matchup on paper; to be particular, we’ve obtained two lengthy strikers right here that may be fascinating to look at.
No featherweight can match Woodson’s measurements. He’s a lanky 6-foot-2 with a staggering 79-inch attain benefit and he is aware of how one can use it. Continually switching stances and flicking his fingers out at unusual angles, there’s nearly no method to get a bead on him. Erosa has a tough standup sport himself, so this might be a one-of-a-kind chess match.
This bout is nearer than the chances will inform you, however Erosa’s previous failures performing on the highest stage make him a dangerous choose. He simply doesn’t have the ability nor the wrestling to significantly threaten Woodson and as puzzling as his placing could be, Woodson even has him beat in that division.
Woodson appeared nice in opposition to the extra skilled Kyle Bochniak in his final outing and I anticipate him to enhance on that efficiency, ending inside the gap this time.