This Saturday Night: Jim Miller vs Joe Lauzon

miller lauzon

On December 29th, the sequel to the highly anticipated Dos Santos vs Velasquez clash will headline UFC’s latest PPV offering. But the fight that might deliver the most excitement is from fan favorites Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller.

On the surface both look like ordinary, every day people. Miller looking like someone who would do a heck of a job building you wooden shelves, while Lauzon looking like someone who would do a fine job fixing your computer problems. But in reality, Miller is currently a consensus top ten lightweight, while Joe Lauzon is top fifteen lightweight. Also, Miller and Lauzon both have heavy hands and great submission grappling skills. Both have similar roles at this point, exciting fighters that can beat almost all of the division except the very elite. There is no shame in those roles.

Joe Lauzon was widely seen as a stepping stone for Melvin Guillard in October 2011. A snappy left hook and one rear naked choke later, Guillard’s title aspirations went up in smoke as Lauzon walked away with the victory. Unfortunately for Lauzon, he was knocked out cold by Anthony Pettis in his next fight earlier this year in February. But the scrappy kid would not lose two in a row, as he had a “Fight of the Year Candidate” with former WEC titlist Jamie Varner this past August. It was a great, back and forth fight, a fight that Jamie Varner was winning. But one bad move on Varner’s part lead to a beautiful looking triangle choke from Lauzon.

After falling to Gray Maynard in March 2009, Jim Miller was riding on a hot streak of seven wins with no defeats. He stepped into the octagon with current UFC lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson in August of 2011. With a win, Miller would have likely fought for the crown next. But Benson Henderson was too much, beating him down in one of the most entertaining one-sided fights in recent memory. We found out later though that Miller was seriously ill in the days leading up the bout.

Miller came back strong in a clash with Melvin Guillard, earlier this year in January. Guillard initially hurt Miller, but “The Assassin” made a tactical error that lead to him being choked by the resilient grappler. Miller was awarded with a fight against Nathan Diaz in the main event of UFC on FOX’s Cinco De Mayo card. Diaz dropped Miller in the first, hurt him in the clinch, and choked him out in the second stanza.

This is a difficult fight to predict. In the first frame, few are as aggressive as Lauzon is in those first few minutes. But Miller is grinder, he toughs it out and has only been finished once in his career. I’m slightly favoring Miller in this bout, but nothing would surprise me here.

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