Last night (Sat., Dec. 14, 2013) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans Joe Lauzon and Mac Danzig kicked off the main card of UFC on Fox 9 from Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.
Both Lauzon and Danzig were in dire need of a win after losing their previous two mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts. Lauzon, the owner of a record-tying 12 UFC post-fight bonuses, was thoroughly outclassed by Michael Johnson at August's UFC Fight Night 26. Prior to that he was dominated by Jim Miller at UFC 155.
The loser of this bout was destined for a dreaded three-fight loss streak, something that traditionally spells doom for most UFC fighters.
In the end Lauzon came out on top with a solid display of mat skills. Let's take a look back at "J-Lau's" impressive performance from Sacramento.
The fight started out with a tentative striking exchange. Lauzon got a bodylock takedown and went to work from half guard. He transitioned to the mount, landed an elbow, and went for an armbar. Danzig escaped to gain the advantage. Lauzon continued to look for submissions but couldn't lock one up. Danzig controlled the fight up against the cage once it returned to the feet. The pace slowed a bit and Lauzon ended the close round on top.
Danzig landed a decent combo to start the second frame. Lauzon looked to clinch with Danzig but was met with a body shot and an elbow. Danzig appeared to find his groove in the striking by snapping jabs and hooks. Lauzon landed some good knees then took the fight to the ground by defending a Danzig trip. Danzig began to bleed from Lauzon's elbows as "J-Lau" turned the tables with his ground and pound He mounted Danzig and went for an armbar as the bell sounded.
The last frame of the back-and-forth battle once-again started out with a Danzig flurry. Referee John McCarthy called for a stop in the action to check a large cut on Danzig's nose. The fight continued and Lauzon threw an elbow before scoring another takedown. It had become clear that Lauzon was content to win this fight on the ground as he smothered Danzig with more and more elbows.
He stepped over to the mount and continued to dominate. Again Lauzon went for an armbar but Danzig reversed to land on top. Lauzon quickly regained the edge and landed yet another big elbow as the fight came to a close.
Lauzon took home a great unanimous decision victory, his first UFC win to ever go to the judges' scorecards. The victory keeps the heat off of "J-Lau" for the time being, but he had far less than pressure than his opponent did. Lauzon is almost guaranteed a roster spot thanks to his extensive list of wildly entertaining bouts.
Lauzon's takedown offense and lethal ground strikes were the story of this fight. He looked slow and out of his element in the loss to Johnson but brought a completely different mindset last night. Lauzon will most likely receive a fight with an opponent just outside of the top ten.
Danzig, however, may receive his release from UFC. His record isn't all that impressive but he is a gritty fighter who can play his part in a slugfest.
His ground game just wasn't good enough to stifle the brutal onslaught of Lauzon. Three straight losses have him light years away from fighting the best in a difficult division, so maybe a trip down to a smaller promotion can help Danzig put a much-needed win streak together.
"J-Lau" got back to winning ways by bludgeoning Mac Danzig with a vicious series of elbows on the ground. What's next for the exciting Lauzon?