UFC 144 – Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon Preview

In December 2010, Anthony Pettis had just earned the WEC championship in a classic against Benson Henderson and the number one spot against the winner of Edgar-Maynard II. A draw between those two prevented that from happening, so he signed on to fight Clay Guida. Then another opportunity arose, he was asked to face Gray Maynard when Edgar got injured. But Maynard couldn’t take the fight since he too was suffering through an injury. Pettis went on to lose his fight with Guida, even though he was showcasing his spectacular guard work throughout the fight. Pettis showed some improved wrestling that he probably learned from Ben Askren in his next fight against hard hitting Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136.

The last time Joe Lauzon lost was to BJJ black belt George Sotiropoulos at UFC 123 back in November of 2010. There was no shame in that lost since everyone at the time thought that the Australian was soon going to fight for the championship. He never did though, and Lauzon went on to beat Curt Warburton with one of the nastiest kimura’s you are ever going to see in the Summer of 2011. He then fought Melvin Guillard at UFC 136 in Houston, TX. Like in the Sotiropoulos fight, few people gave Lauzon much of a chance. Guillard was on his way to a title shot and Lauzon was just a punching bag in the way for Guillard to display his striking skills. But Lauzon was able to capitalize on Guillard’s lack of defense, both on his feet and on the ground. Lauzon tapped Guillard out in just :47 seconds to put himself closer to the top than he’s ever been before.

If it stays on the feet, Pettis will have the definite advantage but Lauzon still has power to score a knockdown if Pettis isn’t careful. On the ground, Lauzon is nasty; he’ll go after armbars, chokes and kimuras to finish off his opponent. Even when he’s standing, he’s not afraid to try Sakuraba-like kimuras and Chonan-like flying heel hooks. But Pettis is really great on the ground too, he was able to get Henderson’s back and constantly threatened Guida with his guard. Still, I have to favor Pettis in this fight, he’s the more polished fighter in my opinion. Should be an exciting fight between two dangerous lightweights.

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