UFC 144 will mark the first time since UFC 29 that the Ultimate Fighting Championshi will return to Japan to hold an event. While most of the card is stacked with at least one fighter who made his name while fighting for an Asian promotion, a lightweight battle is set to go down after a quick call out. In an interview Anthony Pettis was asked who he wanted to fight next and his answer was Joe Lauzon.
This isn’t the first time Lauzon has been called out and subsequently took a fight. Prior to his last fight, Melvin Guillard had expressed an interest in fighting Lauzon after putting together a five-fight win streak and was waiting to get a title shot. Guillard thought that a fight with Lauzon would be an easy win for him and would rebound him to a title shot. Unfortunately Lauzon had other plans.
Nearly everyone had given Guillard the advantage while standing. And why wouldn’t they when Guillard had finished nearly two-thirds of his fights with strikes while Lauzon had only finished five opponents with his hands. It seemed though that people had forgotten about Lauzon’s UFC debut knocking out Jens Pulver in one of the biggest upsets of 2006.
Everyone that is except Lauzon who did nearly the same thing. He landed a massive left hand that sent Guillard to the canvas. Instead of finishing him with strikes, Lauzon was patient and immediately took the back of Guillard. He got both of his hooks in and almost instantly secured his arm under the chin of Guillard and forced a tapout.
Earlier that same night at UFC 136, Anthony Pettis fought and looked to rebound off his loss to Clay Guida. Pettis fought an extremely hard fight against a very game Jeremy Stephens that went all three rounds.
The back and forth fight was nearly anyone’s guess as to who won. Many had Stephens winning the first round and Pettis winning the second. The third round was extremely close and in the end, two judges scored it for Pettis, while a third scored it for Stephens.
A short time after the fight, Pettis was interviewed and asked whom he wanted to fight next. His answer was Joe Lauzon and the video became a viral hit. Lauzon saw the video and said he was down for the fight. Sometimes Sean Shelby and Joe Silva have a very easy job like in this case when the fighters not only call each other out, but also verbally agree to the fight before being presented with a contract.
This fight is an intriguing one to predict. Lauzon has powerful hands and his striking has improved since his UFC debut. Pettis has also shown impressive abilities with his strikes as seen during his fight with Ben Henderson.
Both fighters have a slick ground game, Pettis is crafty and likes to bait fighters who are inside his guard into falling for a triangle choke. Lauzon has enough experience to avoid the submissions and be able to threaten with his top game.
Both fighters are extremely close skill wise, and because of that, one must look at prior experience and the point of their career. Pettis is arguably one of the most naturally talented fighters inside the octagon but he is still relatively young in his career. Lauzon seems to be coming into his career, mixing up his heavy hands and his aggressive jiu jitsu. For that reason I am predicting Lauzon to win this fight and hand Pettis his first submission loss by the end of the second round.