This Saturday (June 27, 2020), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will make its final pre-“Fight Island” trip to the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC on ESPN 12. The main event features an absolute banger of a Lightweight contest between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. Prior to that firefight, we have several prospects doing their best to breakthrough during these strange times, so let’s analyze some main card fights!
Later in the week, we’ll be back to preview and predict the biggest fights of the night.
Middleweight: Kyle Daukaus vs. Brendan Allen
Best Win for Pennington? Jonavin Webb For Allen? Tom Breese
Current Streak: Daukaus debuts at 9-0, while Allen has won two straight inside the Octagon
X-Factor: Daukaus accepted the fight on short-notice
How these two match up: It’s time to grapple!
These two men come into the Octagon with a similar strategy. Both look to ground their opponents quickly and dominate from top position. Daukaus prefers to do so with submissions — particularly, his d’arce choke, which has finished five of his past opponents — while Allen is an equal opportunist, happy to strange foes or better them with ground strikes.
From the tape I’ve seen, Daukaus seems like a talented prospect and worthy pickup on UFC’s part. However, this appears to be a real rough match up, particularly on short-notice. So far, Allen’s wrestling and grappling have looked absolutely top-tier, which makes an early submission from Daukaus unlikely.
Daukaus doesn’t seem to have a kickboxing advantage over “All In” either, so it’s hard to find a real path to victory for the newcomer. I expect some fun scrambles, but ultimately Allen spends too much time implementing his top game for Daukaus to win the decision.
Prediction: Allen via decision
Heavyweight: Gian Villante vs. Maurice Greene
Best Win for Villante? Corey Anderson For Greene? Junior Albini
Current Streak: Villante lost his last bout and will move up a weight class, while Greene has come up short twice in a row
X-Factor: Will a Heavyweight move fix Villante’s cardio?
How these two match up: It could be a quick knockout, or it could be the ugliest godforsaken fight any of us ever witness.
I do not feel like this bout requires in-depth analysis. In seven years and 15 fights with UFC, I cannot remember a single time I was genuinely impressed with Villante. He hits hard and is tough to take down ... and that’s about it. Otherwise, his gas tank lasts for about four minutes, and none of his skills are particularly developed.
“The Crotchet Boss” is not a perfect fighter, but he has some solid accomplishments in his short career. Knocking out Albini, avenging a loss to Jeff Hughes, triangle choking someone at Heavyweight? That’s all good stuff! Plus, Greene is 33 years of age with 12 professional fights, which makes him a baby at Heavyweight.
I’ll be honest: it feels like Villante is moving up in weight because he hates having to lose weight and get in shape for 205-pound fights. Greene, meanwhile, is 6’6” and is developing real sting on the end of that 82 inch reach.
It’s Heavyweight, so all the facts could prove meaningless with a single blow, but ... I’m not picking Villante.
Prediction: Greene via knockout
‘X-Factor’ Picks for 2020: 20-8
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 12 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 12: “Poirier vs. Hooker” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.