UFC on ESPN 12 live blog: Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker

This is the UFC on ESPN 12 live blog for Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker, the lightweight headliner for Saturday’s fight card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

Former interim champ Poirier hopes to rebound after failing to unify the title against current champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, while Hooker aims to climb into title contention with his fourth straight win.

Round 1: Herb Dean is the third man in the cage for this main even. Poirier lands a good body kick right out of the gate. Hooker throws a naked knee as a warning and Poirier takes notice. Both men are circling in the center, taking turns leading the dance. Good low kick from Hooker but a good left hand response from Poirier. Both men are still feeling things out with feints and single shots. Another good low kick from Hooker. Hooker lands a low shot but Poirier walks if off immediately. Then another one happens and Michael Bisping comments on it and Poirier tells Hooker to “listen to Bisping”. Hooker is landing good calf kicks but Poirier has landed some good body shots as well. Hooker steps in and Poirier ducks under for double underhooks and forces him to the cage. Not for long though as Hooker separates. That low calf kick from Hooker is landing at will but Poirier keeps landing powerful left body kicks of his own. BIG LEFT HAND from Poirier gets Hooker tt force a clinch and Poirier lands some elbows and separates. Hooker lands a knee in this close quarters fight and Poirier lands a good combination. This has now turned into a real scrap. Poirier’s counter left hand is money but Hooker’s piling up jabs and low kicks. It’s a matter of power vs. volume and a close opening round.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Hooker.

Round 2: The first round could have gone either way but the low kicks from Hooker edged it for me. Both men come out quick for hte second round and Hooker is throwing a lot of volume now. Poirier stuns Hooker with a big right hand but Hooker answers back with a right of his own and a knee that has Poirier backing up. Now Poirier grabs a clinch and has Hooker against the fence and he’s landing right hands. Hooker reverses position but Poirier lands a big combination! Hooker is still standing and looking for his own offense but Poirier evades. Poirier as landed some huge shots but Hooker has eaten them all and is still coming with volume. Body kick and right hand from Poirier has Hooker backing up. Big right hand from Hooker but Poirier is throwing harder. This pace cannot be maintained. Poirier lands an elbow as the clinch breaks. Poirier has forced a brawl here and Hooker is starting to show it. Body kick lands for Poirier. Both men are bleeding. Hooker has done a good job of slipping shots but Poirier is throwing in bunches and some are landing. Good body shot from Hooker. Poirier is flirting with recklessness. And he’s punished for it! Poirier rushes in and Hooker lands a clean five punch combo that has Poirier in trouble! Poirier has tons of heart and is firing back. This is chaos! Hooker rifles out another big combination and Poirier is covering up as the bell sounds! What a round.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Hooker (20-18 Hooker overall).

Round 3: Poirier honestly looks okay after the break and Hooker has a nasty cut on the eyelid which could be a problem. Poirier seems a little more defensively minded this round which is probably a good change. Big right hand from Poirier but Hooker eats it. Both men look tired, which is reasonable. Poirier lands a huge body kick left hand combo that stuns Hooker for a second. Hooker loses his mouthpiece as Poirier seems to be getting stronger this round. Hooker shoots in for a takedown and Poirier has a very tight guillotine! Oh my god, Hooker has to roll tot his back! He’s out! Now Poirier is going for a triangle but Hooker defends and that was super close. Hooker appears to be trying to take a rest from top position and Poirier is still looking to attack off his back with triangles, armbars, and elbows. Hooker seems pretty tired on top and now Poirier is trying to get to his feet. He does against the fence but eats a knee for his efforts. MONSTROUS ELBOW AND HOOK ON THE FENCE FROM POIRIER. Hooker is showing some chin and he’s in full retreat right now. Hooker’s face is a bloody mess and the round ends.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Poirier (29-28 Hooker overall).

Round 4: This fight is already a Fight of the Year contender and we still have the championship rounds to go. Hooker looks a bit better to start the round but Poirier looks very fresh and he’s on the attack. This has been a much slower round with simple potshots. Poirier lands a body kick but Hooker catches it and goes for a takedown. Poirier immediately scrambles up Hooker now is on his back. Poirier hits a switch to reverse and gets free but Hooker is now wrestling a lot and gets another takedown. They’re back on their feet and now Poirier gets a takedown and Hooker barely even tried to defend. This is a shift and Poirier is mounted on Hooker against the fence. Now Hooker is giving up his back and Poirier is raining shots, Khabib style. Hooker looks completely exhausted. Hooker stands and Poirier jumps the back but he’s high! Poirier transitions to a reverse triangle armbar and Hooker is trying to survive but that arm is tight! Hooker steps over but now Poirier has an omoplata. This is freaking wild. Hooker is finally able to stand and he’s now on top but Poirier is trying to turtle to his feet. Poirier now going for a double leg but Poirier grabs a guillotine and drops back. Hooker is able to escape and both men seem spent. Hooker ends the round with ground and pound.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Poirier (38-38 overall).

Round 5: The scores could be all over the place here but this final round may well decide the fight and Poirier appears to be the fresher fighter. Good right hand from Poirier to start the round. Poirier just doing light front kicks right now. Hooker not throwing much, Poirier still landing shots with pop. Hooker’s corner trying to urge him onto more action. Poirier defeds a soft takedown and he is still marching forward. Both men exchange lead hands. Poirier hurts Hooker with a left and Hooker changes level but Poirier defends. Now hooker forces a clinch but Poirier gets out of it and Poirier is landing big shots. Good left hand from Hooker and he gets a takedown but Poirier is again looking for a choke to open up the stand up. Hooker takes the back for a moment but Poirier is against the fence and turns, putting the two men back in space. Another double leg from Hooker but Poirier defends with a guillotine that forces Hooker to step out. Hooker immediately shoots another and he’s clearly trying to ride this round out. Poirier defends and reverses position. Big elbow and right hand from Poirier. Hooker tries another takedown, is defended, and Poirier cracks Hooker with another shot, forcing Hooker to a knee. Poirier defends the shot and now is on top of Hooker against the fence and pounding a completely spent Hooker. Poirier celebrates while Hooker stays on the floor.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Poirier, 48-47 Poirier overall.

OFFICIAL DECISION: Dustin Poirier defeats Dan Hooker by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-46).