UFC on ESPN 12 – 5 Takeaways

UFC on ESPN 12
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 27: (R-L) Dustin Poirier punches Dan Hooker of New Zealand in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 27, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

UFC on ESPN 12 is now one for the books and we look ahead to UFC 251 on Fight Island. The main event was a special one, where we saw two top lightweights slug it out for 25 minutes. Throughout the card, there were notable performances and some interesting takeaways. We take a look at the top 5 takeaways from the card.

Top 5 Takeaways from UFC on ESPN 12

1 – Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker have solid chins and came to entertain

In what was one of the fights of 2020 without a doubt, the UFC on ESPN 12 main event was 25 minutes of war. Coming off a title fight loss, Dustin Poirier was looking to bounce back and get back in the win column. His opponent, Dan Hooker was on a tear. 7-1 in his past eight fights since moving to lightweight, Hooker held the momentum. With five finishes within these eight wins, Hooker was quickly becoming a contender at 155lbs.

The fight was something to behold. Slugging it out, round on round entertained us all. Deservingly receiving Fight of the Night honours, these two left it all in the octagon. What’s next for each man? Who knows but both men’s stocks are on the rise.

2- Kay Hansen is an exciting prospect

One of the biggest stories coming into UFC on ESPN 12 was the debut of Kay Hansen. Hansen became the youngest active members of the women’s roster and the second-youngest fighter on the entire roster. Despite her age, Hansen has a vast experience. Five professional boxing bouts and nine MMA fights, eight of which were in Invicta FC. Having only received the call a week prior, Hansen was set to make her debut against fellow debutant, Jinh Yu Frey.

After a back and forth bout, Hansen set up a beautiful takedown to armbar transition to get the tap. The humble 20-year-old is certainly an exciting prospect. One fan was particularly happy as they placed a $37K bet on Hansen to get the W.

3 – Mike Perry is going to Mike Perry

Mike Perry is certainly a recognisable name within the UFC and featured in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 12. Taking on the confident Mickey Gall, Perry certainly held the experience. Despite this, Perry came into the bout off the back of two straight losses. He also announced this week that he would only have his girlfriend in the corner, no coach, training partners or anyone with MMA experience. I for one hoped that this went longer than five minutes just to hear her in the corner. Although (obviously) she gave no valid advice, Perry got the nod by unanimous decision.

Gall did show vast improvements in his striking but surprisingly wasn’t able to do anything on the ground. Perry largely controlled the ground transitions where Gall seemed to hold an advantage going into the bout. Gall certainly has a future in the sport but it is imperative that he sorts his cardio issues out. He seemed to drastically slow down in this one and it has been an issue for him in the past.

Perry’s post-fight interview was (of course) entertaining and seemingly hinted at going to middleweight to fight a ‘middleweight Englishman’. Both Darren Till and Perry have gone back and forth for years.

4 – Gian Villante is NOT a heavyweight

UFC on ESPN 12 also saw the heavyweight debut of Gian Villante. Villante has competed at 205lbs for his entire seven-year UFC tenure but this past weekend saw his heavyweight debut. His opponent was Maurice Greene, a huge heavyweight. 6’7, 255lbs, Greene is a tough match-up for any heavyweight. Long, rangey and powerful, Greene holds seven finish victories.

The fight was a strange one. Villante gassed out (badly) and ended up tapping to, what appeared to be a head squeeze. It’s gone down as an arm-triangle choke finish, however, it was far from the traditional finish. It looked a little like an Ezekiel choke but wasn’t quite the same.

What should be next for Villante? Certainly a drop back down to light heavyweight. At 6’3, he isn’t even a huge 205er but needs to drop back down, for his own safety more than anything.

5 – Khama Worthy is legit

Khama Worthy made his second UFC appearance at UFC on ESPN 12. Having made his debut at short notice, Worthy put on a show. Notching a performance of the night winning knockout, Worthy put the whole 155lbs division on notice.

Scheduled twice previously, Worthy finally made his second UFC appearance at the UFC Apex. In a back and forth fight, Worthy took on TUF veteran Luis Pena. ‘The Deathstar’, showed how good his striking is, countering Pena throughout. Showing quality head movement, Worthy was able to land on Pena easily. He locked in a sweet guillotine victory in the third round to progress to 2-0 in the UFC. What’s next for the exciting lightweight? Brad Riddell would be an exciting fight, as would a fight with Lando Vannata. What we do know though, Worthy is legit.

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