UFC on ESPN 12: Poirier vs Hooker Betting Preview Odds and Picks

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UFC Poirier Hooker

On Saturday, June 27th, the UFC will be live from their APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC on ESPN 12: Poirier vs Hooker. The main event of the card is a Top 5 lightweight battle between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker.

In total, there are 11 fights with notable names like Mike Perry, Brendan Allen, Luis Pena and Khama Worthy on the last fight card in Las Vegas before the UFC heads to their Fight Island in two weeks.

UFC betting sites have released their odds for the full slate of UFC on ESPN 12 fights. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these current MMA betting lines, identify possible betting value or upsets, and TKO our picks.

UFC on ESPN 12 Prelims

The preliminary card features seven fights and is set to begin at 5 PM ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

Jinh Yu Frey vs Kay Hansen

  • Jinh Yu Frey (+155)
  • Kay Hansen (-175)
  • Over (-300)/Under (+350) 2.5 rounds

This fight was added on Monday to help round out the card after Sara McMann vs Aspen Ladd was scrapped due to Ladd suffering a knee injury during training camp. Both Frey and Hansen are making their UFC debuts after spending time with Invicta FC.

Jinh Yu Frey is the underdog on Saturday, but has gone 3-1 in her last four fights. Her last contest was in February and she defeated Ashley Cummins via unanimous decision. Eight of her 13 pro fights have gone the distance and Frey has a record of 6-2 in those contests.

Kate Hansen is the favorite in her debut fight despite being just 20 years old. She’s 2-0 in her last two fights with a unanimous decision victory in her last contest which came in March with Invicta FC. Five of her six pro wins have come via stoppage with three by way of submission.

I like the Over 2.5 rounds for this fight (-300) and for this bout to go the distance (-280). Frey has gone the distance in nearly 70% of her fights including four in a row. Hansen has gone the distance in two of her last three contests.

This fight comes down to Hansen’s grappling versus Frey’s striking. Hansen will have to force the issue by going for takedowns. Frey will try to keep the fight upright and at a comfortable striking distance.

Since I believe this fight will go the distance, there’s value with both women winning via decision. Hansen is listed at +150 and Frey is listed at +165. The smart play is on Hansen to get the fight to the mat, maintain control and win via decision. Frey’s worthy of a flier, but Hansen should win.

Jinh Yu Frey vs Kay Hansen –Hansen (-175)

Over 2.5 rounds (-300)

Fight goes the distance (-280)

Hansen wins via decision (+150)

Jordan Griffin vs Youssef Zalaal

  • Jordan Griffin (+100)
  • Youssef Zalaal (-120)
  • Over (-165)/Under (+145) 2.5 rounds

Jordan Griffin comes into this contest as the slight underdog having gone 1-2 since earning his UFC contract nearly two years ago. He last competed in February and won via 2nd round TKO. 14 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of submission.

Youssef Zalaal made his UFC debut in October and won via unanimous decision over Austin Lingo. He enters Saturday on a two fight wins streak and is 4-2 over the last two years. Seven of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission.

Combined, these men have gone the distance in 11 of 35 pro fights. I see this one finishing inside the distance (+105) as well due to the grappling of Griffin and his submission skills. I think he’s going to be too much for Zalaal to handle.

I’m also going with the Under 2.5 rounds (+145) as I believe that Griffin is going to get this fight to the mat early and often. From there, he will find a submission hold to lock in and win this contest by forcing Zalaal to tap out.

Jordan Griffin vs Youssef Zalaal –Griffin (+100)

Under 2.5 rounds (+145)

Fight ends inside the distance (+105)

Griffin wins inside the distance (+280)

Mara Romero Borella vs Miranda Maverick

  • Mara Romero Borella (+250)
  • Miranda Maverick (-300)
  • Over (-160)/Under (+140) 2.5 rounds

On Wednesday afternoon, UFC officials announced that this fight is off. Miranda Maverick was forced to withdraw from the fight due to an undisclosed injury that prevented her from being medically cleared.

Maverick is a highly touted prospect who was set to make her UFC debut on Saturday. The 22 year old fighter is on a three fight win streak, which included seeing her win the Invicta FC Phoenix Series 2 flyweight tournament.

Maverick was listed as a large betting favorite over Borella who has lost three fights in a row and four of her last five. She just fought last month and lost via 1st round submission to Cortney Casey.

As of now, there’s no word on a replacement opponent for Borella. With just three days until the event, it’s hard to imagine the UFC finding a suitable opponent in time.

Sean Woodson vs Julian Erosa

  • Sean Woodson (-400)
  • Julian Erosa (+330)
  • Over (NA)/Under (NA) 2.5

In a third fight that was affected by change, Sean Woods was originally scheduled to take on Kyle Nelson. Apparently, Nelson had issues with his visa. Julian Erosa has stepped up to replace Nelson on five days’ notice. This will be his third stint with the UFC after being released last year and in 2016.

This is Erosa’s first fight in 13 months. He lost three straight bouts and was bounced from the UFC after Julio Arce KO’d him in 2019. There’s not a lot of available fighters on such short notice, so Erosa is very fortunate. A win and he could be back in the UFC for the foreseeable future.

19 of his 22 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He does have four TKO/KO losses in his career.

Sean Woodson is the tallest featherweight in the division standing at 6’2”. He won his UFC debut last October via unanimous decision over the favored Kyle Bochniak. Woodson won all three rounds and looks to be a solid prospect. Four of his seven wins have come via decision.

Woodson only has a one inch height advantage, but he does have a four inch reach advantage which could be the difference maker in this fight.

Because this fight was made on such short notice, MMA betting sites haven’t released Over/Under odds or prop bets for this contest as of this writing.

So, we’re just looking at the winner and that should be Sean “The Sniper” Woodson. I think Erosa is a dangerous flier, but at +330 odds and being almost as tall as Woodson, Erosa will find some success in this contest.

I expect Woodson to keep this a striking contest, defend the takedowns and pick up a unanimous decision win.

Sean Woodson vs Julian Erosa –Woodson (-400)

Philipe Lins vs Tanner Boser

  • Philipe Lins (-105)
  • Tanner Boser (-115)
  • Over (-225)/Under (+185) 2.5 rounds

Philipe Lins comes into Saturday’s heavyweight contest as the slight underdog. He made his UFC debut last month and lost to Andrei Arlovski via unanimous decision. It was a disappointing performance for Lins who had a chance to make a statement in his debut. Instead, he was flat and too cautious.

Lins was a light-heavyweight before moving up to heavyweight in the PFL where he would go on to win their tournament going 4-0. He won all four fights via stoppage, which bumped his career total up to 12 stoppage victories with eight by way of TKO/KO. Yet, he laid an egg against Arlovski last month.

Tanner Boser lost his last fight, which came in December 2019. He’s 2-2-1 in his last five fights and 1-1 inside the octagon. Boser will have a four inch reach advantage over Lins. 10 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO.

This fight will either come down to Lins finishing off Boser with a TKO/KO or Philipe earning the decision victory. After his last fight, I think that Lins will be more aggressive from the start of the fight and look for the stoppage.

The odds favor this fight going the distance (-195) and Over 2.5 rounds (-225). But, I think we’re going to see a TKO result in this heavyweight bout. Both men need to make a statement and that will most likely result in a solid stoppage victory.

I’m taking Lins to win inside the distance (+255) and to go Under 2.5 rounds (+185). I believe Lins has more upside and needs to show it on Saturday.

Philipe Lins vs Tanner Boser –Lins (-105)

Under 2.5 rounds (+185)

Fight ends inside the distance (+155)

Lins wins inside the distance (+255)

Luis Pena vs Khama Worthy

  • Luis Pena (-260)
  • Khama Worthy (+220)
  • Over (+100)/Under (-120) 2.5 rounds

In what should be the main event of the prelims, Luis Pena takes on Khama Worthy in a potentially explosive lightweight showdown. In fact, Luis Pena believes that he and Worthy will go out there and put on a show:

“I really like the matchup and I really like how our skill sets align. I think this is a good matchup, not just for me, but the fans. We can go out there and put on the show everyone expects from us.”

Khama Worthy is a large underdog for this fight, but he’s a live dog due to his knockout power. Worthy is the true definition of “boom or bust.” He’s either going to end the fight in spectacular fashion like he did against Devonte Smith or he will fall flat on his face like against Kyle Nelson three years ago.

Worthy is on a six fight winning streak, which earned him his UFC debut last August. Worthy finished off the heavily favored Devonte Smith via 1st round TKO. 11 of his 15 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of TKO/KO.

Worthy commented on his opponent this weekend and actually had plenty of positive praise for Pena in addition to acknowledging the challenge that lays ahead for him on Saturday:

“I’ve watched literally all of his fights. I actually like him. He’s a cool fighter. I like the way that he fights and stuff. I’ve watched all of his fights in the UFC. I watched him on The Ultimate Fighter and stuff. I was definitely looking forward (to it) when they offered it. I told my manager, I’m like, ‘That’s a tricky one.’ He’s a tall southpaw.”

If you have been following my UFC content for the last few years, you will remember that Luis Pena has my favorite nickname in all of MMA, and quite possibly all of sports, “Violent Bob Ross.” I root for him just because of this nickname.

Fortunately for “Violent Bob Ross” fans like myself, when it comes to this fight I believe Pena is in a good position to win inside the distance (+130). He has a four inch height and three inch reach advantage. Furthermore, he’s far superior to Worthy on the ground.

Worthy is a fish out of water when on the mat, but Pena is very cool, calm, and collected. Four of his eight pro wins have come via submission.

Pena looks lanky, but he’s very smooth in his ground game and transitioning from different levels. His best strategy is to take Worthy down that way he eliminates Khama’s biggest weapon, which is his knockout power.

I expect Pena to get this fight to the mat and finish off Worthy in an artistic masterpiece. Take the Under 2.5 rounds (-120)

Luis Pena vs Khama Worthy –Pena (-260)

Under 2.5 rounds (-120)

Fight doesn’t go the distance (-155)

Pena wins inside the distance (+130)

UFC on ESPN 12 Main Card

The main card of the event features four fights and is set to begin at 8 PM ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

Gian Villante vs Maurice Greene

  • Gian Villante (+190)
  • Maurice Greene (-230)
  • Over (+140)/Under (-160) 2.5 rounds

In the second heavyweight bout of the night, Gian Villante opens as a large underdog in this main card bout. Villante has been with the UFC for seven years and has a record of 7-8 inside the octagon. He hasn’t competed in 16 months and hasn’t won since October 2018.

12 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. Five of his 11 pro losses have come via TKO/KO.

Maurice Greene is 3-2 in his last five fights, which have all been in the UFC. He’s dropped his last two bouts including a fight in January against Alexey Oleynik via submission. Fortunately, Greene won’t have to worry about that against Villante who likes to strike.

Six of Greene’s eight pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. However, Greene will have the power advantage for this fight and could end it with a knockout. Additionally, Greene has advantages of at least four inches in reach and 50 pounds in weight as well.

Yet, he’s not overlooking his opponent on Saturday. In fact, Greene believes he will get the best of Villante this weekend:

“He’s ready for it all. You think he don’t train with heavyweights or spar with heavyweights? He was a D-1 wrestler and a D-1 football player. What is he not ready for? In the back of my head, I’m gonna see the best Gian Villante there ever will be, and if he’s anything less than that, that’s good for me. And he’s gonna get the best Maurice Greene that you’ve seen yet.”

I don’t see Villante getting Greene to the mat. More than likely, Greene’s size advantage will help in the striking battle that should ensue. I’m taking Greene to win this fight Under 2.5 rounds (-160), within the distance (-215) and via TKO/KO (-110).

Gian Villante vs Maurice Greene –Greene (-230)

Under 2.5 rounds (-160)

Fight ends inside the distance (-215)

Greene wins inside the distance (-123)

Greene wins via TKO/KO (-110)

Kyle Daukaus vs Brendan Allen

  • Kyle Daukaus (+250)
  • Brendan Allen (-300)
  • Over (-130)/Under (+110) 1.5 rounds

This middleweight fight was originally booked for Brendan Allen to take on Ian Heinisch, but Heinisch was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injuries. Kyle Daukaus has stepped up to take on Allen with less than two weeks’ notice.

Daukaus is also making his UFC debut after winning his DWCS fight 12 months ago. He last fought in February and won via 2nd round submission in CFFC. Eight of his nine pro wins have come via submission.

Brendan Allen enters this contest having won six straight fights including both of his UFC bouts. He last competed in February and won via 1st round TKO over Tom Breese. 13 of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of submission.

Allen is very confident heading into this weekend’s bout despite the late change of opponents. Allen made the following comments about Daukaus:

“All that’s on my mind is handling business, proving a point, showing that there’s levels to this and that anything other than a Top 15 opponent is a waste of my time… I watched his fights and he’s not bad — he’s good for a local circuit guy. But like I said, there are levels to this and I feel like I’m on a different level. I feel like he could beat guys in the lower tier of the UFC, but I’m not in the lower tier.”

I have a hard time disagreeing with Allen on this one. There are different levels to this fight game and Allen is at a higher level than Daukaus at this stage of their respective careers. This grappling bout will last as long as it takes for Allen to lock in a submission.

The question is whether or not Daukaus will last more than one round. The Over/Under is set at 1.5 rounds with the Over (-130) slightly favored. Fight finishing inside the distance is listed at -245 odds.

I believe Allen will pick up the submission win (+145), but if you are looking for a longshot wager for this fight than Daukaus winning via submission at +550 is risky bet with some substance. He does have eight submission wins in his career.

Kyle Daukaus vs Brendan Allen –Allen (-300)

Over 1.5 rounds (-130)

Fight ends inside the distance (-245)

Allen wins inside the distance (-130)

Allen wins via submission (+145)

Mike Perry vs Mickey Gall

  • Mike Perry (-290)
  • Mickey Gall (+245)
  • Over (-110)/Under (-110) 1.5 rounds

The odds for this co-main event have seen a lot of movement over the last few days. With 5Dimes, Mike Perry was a -325 favorite over the last two days, but has come down to -290 as of Thursday June 25th. Yet, he can still be found with odds as high as -350 at other betting sites.

Mickey Gall was +265, but has dropped to +245. However, he can be found listed as high as +270 odds with online betting sites like BetOnline. Regardless of where you shop for betting lines at, it’s clear that Gall is one of the biggest underdogs for the entire event.

Despite being the underdog, Gall declares that he actually enjoys seeing Mike Perry fight, which a lot of us feel the same way. Gall acknowledges that Perry likes to intimidate people, but that he’s not intimidated and that he will find a way to finish off “Platinum” on Saturday:

“I get excited when he’s gonna fight because he brings the fight, he brings the violence. I also see a guy who has talent, but who wants to intimidate people and scare them, and he’s not scaring anyone over here. I got respect for him, I respect his power, I respect that he’s gonna come to fight and I do think he’s a real fighter, but I’m more of a martial artist, I’m levels above him and if he spends 15 minutes in that little cage with me, I’m gonna find a way to take him out.”

For Gall, this is his 8th trip to the octagon where he’s 5-2 so far. Most people best remember Gall for beating former WWE superstar Phil Brooks, better known as CM Punk, in 2016. Gall is 3-2 since beating Punk, but hasn’t fought in 10 months. He won that fight via unanimous decision over Salim Touahri.

Mike Perry is 6-6 inside the octagon, but hasn’t fought since December 2019 when he lost via 1st round TKO to Geoff Neal. He’s dropped three of his last four fights. He had one of the best fights in 2019 against Vicente Luque which ended up being a three round blood bath and split decision loss.

Perry is well known for his striking skills, which is evident with 85% (11) of his 13 pro wins coming via TKO/KO.

It’s no surprise that Perry is the big betting favorite. However, what is a surprise, is how he’s approaching this fight. Platinum announced that he won’t have any coaches in his corner. The only one who will be there is his girlfriend:

“She’s gonna do the number one thing that I could ask for a coach. She’s gonna sit there and enjoy the show cause she’s got the best seat in the house. I don’t need your advice anyways. I’ve done the work. It’s done. I’ve seen the fight in my head a thousand times. I’m gonna bust this dude in the face and I’m gonna bust his chops.”

Perry is extremely confident that he will defeat Gall and this is clear by his decision to fight without coaches in his corner. We will have to wait until Saturday to see if this is actually a good decision or not.

Gall actually has a four inch height and three inch reach advantage over Perry. Additionally, he’s a superior grappler to Platinum with five of his six pro wins coming via submission. With that said, oddsmakers can’t decide on the Over/Under of 1.5 rounds with odds listed at -110 apiece.

It’s clear nobody thinks the fight will go the distance (-270), but an O/U this close is a tough call. I wouldn’t be surprised if the fight is finished within the first few minutes. With that said, I will give Gall some credit and go with the Over 1.5 rounds (-110).

I’m going with Mike Perry to win this fight inside the distance (-210) and to do so by earning the 12th TKO/KO win (-170) of his career.

Mike Perry vs Mickey Gall –Perry (-290)

Over 1.5 rounds (-110)

Fight ends inside the distance (-270)

Mike Perry wins inside the distance

Perry wins via TKO/KO (-170)

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker

  • Dustin Poirier (-225)
  • Dan Hooker (+185)
  • Over (-135)/Under (+105) 2.5 rounds

MMA betting sites are all over the place for this fight’s Over/Under. Depending on which sports betting site you look at, you can find an O/U of 1.5 rounds at William Hill to 4.5 rounds at 5Dimes. For me, I really like the Over/Under of 2.5 rounds found at BetOnline. There’s solid value with the Over (-135).

Five of Poirier’s last seven fights have pretty much gone over or hit the 2.5 round mark. Three of Hooker’s last four fights have done the same.

This fight is scheduled for five rounds, but it’s heavily favored to not go the distance (-290). In fact, it’s favored not to even go into the 5th round (-215). Combined, these two men have only gone the distance in 16 of 59 total fights. With two highly skilled strikers, I don’t see this fight going the full five rounds.

One prop bet I really like for this bout is the fight starting round 3 at -145 odds. Since I believe it’s going over 2.5 rounds, this prop bet is a solid alternative to the O/U.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into which fighter will walk away with a huge Top 5 victory.

Dan Hooker is a large underdog despite having won three fights in a row and seven of his last eight. During that stretch, he’s defeated fighters like Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, James Vick, Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder. That’s a solid resume.

Hooker has a three inch height and two inch reach advantage. He excels at striking from a distance with punches and kicks. 17 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO.

Dustin Poirier last fought 9 months ago and lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title. That snapped a four fight win streak and a six fight unbeaten streak. He’s currently ranked 3rd in the division while Hooker is 5th. Yet, he has the big fight experience over Hooker.

With that said, Poirier isn’t overlooking Hooker at all. In fact his focus is only on Hooker not anything else:

“My focus is on him and solely on Dan Hooker. He’s a quality opponent and he has two arms, two knees, two legs and he’ll be looking to take my head off. It wouldn’t be too wise of me to look past anyone, let alone a guy like that. If you think that, you probably have never prepared for a competition before.”

19 of Poirier’s 25 pro wins have come via stoppage with 12 by way of TKO/KO. However, he has a solid ground game with a black belt in BJJ. In fact, he has the advantage on the mat.

If Poirier can successfully change levels throughout the fight with a few takedowns then I see him winning via stoppage at best or decision at worse. A lot of MMA fighters are picking Poirier to win via decision. I have a hard time thinking that will be the case.

I’m going with Poirier to win inside the distance (-115) then call out Conor McGregor after the fight.

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker –Poirier (-225)

Over 2.5 rounds (-135)

Fight ends inside the distance (-290)

Fight starts 3rd round (-145)

Poirier wins inside the distance (-115)

Final Thoughts for UFC on ESPN 12

This card lacks depth and largely due to several injuries that forced the UFC to scramble and find replacements. With that said, the main event is going to be great. Other than “Violent Bob Ross” and Mike Perry, I’m only really excited for this lightweight battle.

I expect Hooker and Poirier to put on a show and give us an entertaining war. If Hooker wins he would probably be next to face Nurmagomedov or Gaethje. If Poirier wins, which I believe he will, then we could see him try and coax McGregor out of retirement.

The betting action is almost as exciting as the main event of the night. There are numerous UFC wagers to consider placing your money on. Check back before the start time for this show to read my last minute value bets for UFC on ESPN 12.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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