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UFC on ESPN 12 start time, who is fighting tonight at ‘Poirier vs Hooker’ on ESPN

UFC Fight Night Poirier v Hooker: Weigh-Ins Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is gearing up to stage UFC on ESPN 12 later TONIGHT (Sat., June 27, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show will be the promotion’s final one stateside before it heads to international waters for the entire month of July to stage four consecutive events on “Fight Island,” which is actually Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

UFC on ESPN 12 is headlined by a pivotal Lightweight match up, pitting former interim champion, Dustin Poirier, against Dan Hooker, winner of three-fight win streak. In the co-main event, Mike Perry and Mickey Gall will finally get to settle their beef inside the Octagon.

What’s Hot:

Poirier has long been one of the best Lightweight fighters in the world, losing only three times since 2013. Two of those defeats were against current 155-pound champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, with a loss to Michael Johnson sandwiched between. But if you look at his last four wins, Poirier’s resume is truly something to behold, scoring wins over former Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, current interim champ, Justin Gaethje, ex-champ, Eddie Alvarez, and former Featherweight kingpin, Max Holloway. Who else can say they’ve defeated all four of those men? And in consecutive fights no less. “The Eagle” and “Notorious” sure can’t. He will have a chance to get himself back into title consideration if he can defeat the surging Dan Hooker, who has won three straight (seven of eight overall).

Both men like to stand-and-bang, and fight fans should expect nothing different come showtime, as they are both looking to prove a point and have their eyes on the belt. Hooker may have a bit of a reach advantage on “The Diamond,” but that has never hindered Poirier’s performances. I favor Poirier to pull out a win here, but Hooker is more than capable of pulling off an upset. He’ll have to be on top of his game, though, because Poirier has proven time and again that he can take a licking and keep on ticking.

Since 2017, Perry has gone 2-5, with his two wins coming by way of decision. One of those came via controversial split decision against Paul Felder. My point is, “Platinum” hasn’t lived up to any expectations some may have had of him, going 6-6 thus far in his UFC career. But despite his struggles, he just has something about him that makes you tune in. Perhaps it’s his balls-to-the wall style of fighting, kill or be killed mentality, or his care-free attitude when there’s a camera in front of him. With Perry, whether you like it or not, you get the real deal and you know he isn’t putting on a front ... for better or worse. That being said, that can only carry a fighter so far — he still has to get some wins to have a better reason for the promotion to keep him around.

Gall, meanwhile, has earned a respectable 5-2 mark so far inside the Octagon. He has been rather quiet over the last year, as two of his previously scheduled bouts against Carlos Condit and Alex Oliveira were scratched, forcing him to sit out longer than he would have wanted. Against Perry, he’ll have the chance to get a huge notch on his belt. But he will have to be careful of Perry’s wild attacks, as one solid strike from “Platinum” could very well put him to sleep, as his first 11 pro wins have come by way of knockout. This fight is a toss up for me, though it’s safe to say it’s bound to be exciting thanks to Perry’s track record.

What’s Not:

Nothing much to complain about here, especially since we’re just a few weeks from a jam-packed month of exciting and stacked cards on “Fight Island.”

Original Card vs. Actual Card:

We had quite a few changes, most of which happened just this week. Kyle Nelson was forced out of his fight against Sean Woodson because of visa issues, which prompted UFC to re-sign Julian Erosa to fill the void. The following day, Miranda Maverick’s UFC debut was canceled after she suffered an injury during training, forcing her out of her bout against Mara Romero Borella. Given the short notice, the promotion opted to remove Borella from the event altogether. One day after that, Ramiz Brahimaj was forced out of his fight against Takashi Sato after one of his cornermen tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the promotion to go on with just 10 fights.

Injuries:

Aspen Ladd was set to face Sara McMann in women’s Bantamweight action before she was forced out after suffering a nasty knee injury that will keep her out for the remainder of 2020. It’s a tough blow for Ladd — as well as the 135-pound division — because she has long been one of the favorites to one day rule the division.

New Blood:

Undefeated Middleweight (9-0) Kyle Daukus will finally get his shot at UFC stardom after failing to get in following his successful debut on “Contender Series.” He will have a tough draw in former LFA champ, Brendan Allen, winner of six straight, including his first two bouts inside the Octagon. And the man knows how to finish fights, winning 13 of 14 via stoppage.

Former Invicta FC Atomweight champion, Jinh Yu Frey, finally got the call up to the big leagues. But for as talented as she is, Frey has been inconsistent, with her last win streak of three or more coming in 2016. Since then, she has gone 4-3, which is nothing to write home about. That said, she will be a nice addition to the women’s Strawweight division. Frey will face fellow UFC newcomer and former Invicta FC colleague, Kay Hansen, whom we will discuss a bit further in the next section.

Jason Witt got the call to make his UFC debut on just two days notice after Ramiz Brahimaj was forced out as a result of one of his cornermen testing positive for COVID-19. Witt has won four straight, but will undoubtedly be taking on his toughest test in Sato, who came up short against Belal Muhammad at UFC 242.

How The ‘Prelims’ Look:

Former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) alum, Luis Pena, looks to get on a win streak as he takes on the always-tough Khama Worthy, who has won six straight. This is a tough fight for Pena, as “Deathstar” packs some major punching power. But “Violent Bob Ross” is also as scrappy as they come, so don’t be surprised if he has some tricks up his sleeve.

Kay Hansen will look to make a splash in her UFC debut coming in from Invicta FC, as she battles fellow newcomer, Jinh Yu Frey (also from Invicta) in women’s Flyweight action. Frey was stripped of her Atomoweight title in her last fight because of missing weight, though she went on to defeat Ashley Cummins.

Jordan Griffin will look for his first back-to-back victories inside the Octagon as the Heavyweight bomber takes on Youssef Zalal, winner of two straight. While you may think this fight is a stand-up brawl ready to happen, you might be surprised to hear that Griffin’s last five wins have come via submission. Meanwhile, four of Youssef’s last six wins have also come by way of submission.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

As I touched on earlier, Perry needs a win here in the worst way. He has now lost two in a row, and five of his last seven. As exciting she might be, I wouldn’t rule out the promotion cutting him loose with another defeat, especially if Endeavor starts forcing UFC to make some cuts as a result of COVID-19.

Interest Level: 7.5 of 10

It’s a pretty solid offering, really, though the constant injuries and fight cancelations did hurt it a bit, especially the loss of Ladd vs. McMann. Nevertheless, the event should be entertaining, as Poirier and Hooker promises to be an all-out war. And once again, when Perry is on, love him or hate him, he is must-see TV. In further main card action, Gian Villante will make his Heavyweight debut against Maurice Greene, who is in desperate need of a win after losing two straight. Also, former PFL 265-pound champion, Philip Lins, will look to score his first UFC victory against Tanner Boser.

Full Fight Card:

UFC on ESPN 12 Main Event On ESPN/ESPN+:

155 lbs.: Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker

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

170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. Mike Perry
185 lbs.: Brendan Allen vs. Kyle Daukaus
265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Gian Villante
150 lbs.: Sean Woodson vs. Julian Erosa
135 lbs.: Aspen Ladd vs. Sara McMannCanceled

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

155 lbs.: Luis Pena vs. Khama Worthy
125 lbs.: Mara Romero Borella vs. Miranda Maverick — Canceled
265 lbs.: Tanner Boser vs. Philipe Lins
170 lbs.: Takashi Soto vs. Jason Witt
145 lbs.: Jordan Griffin vs. Youssef Zalal
115 lbs.: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Kay Hansen

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 12 fight card tonight RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 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.