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Joe Lauzon out at least 12 months because of knee surgery

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Joe Lauzon will undergo season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, which will keep The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 alum on the sidelines for the remainder of 2009.

Here's a snip from his Web site:

"The surgery scheduled for next week will not be so simple. Unlike the last two times, I will need my meniscus repaired. Instead of just shaving that little piece out, they will be stitching it up and getting it to sit back in place. To make things much worse, I need to have my ACL repaired as well. They think my torn ACL is causing my knee to shift ever so slightly and its destroying my meniscus.... Long story short … I will be off my feet for a month to a month and a half… training SUPER light in about 4 or 5 months … training decently hard in about 9 months and fighting in around 12-14 months. It's going to be a long rehab … but that's how it goes."

Lauzon most recently saw action against Jeremy Stephens in the UFC Fight Night 17 main event in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 14. He took out "Lil' Heathen" with a second round armbar to notch his second straight win inside the Octagon.

Prior to the back-to-back victories, Lauzon was one of the many recent victims of Kenny Florian courtesy of a second round technical knockout loss at UFC Fight Night 13 back in April. It was a temporary setback for the Boston-area native and he appeared to be climbing his way back toward the top of the division before this latest news.

"J-Lau" was the favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 season before meeting up with Manny Gamburyan in the semifinals. He has five wins in six attempts inside the Octagon.

There were seemingly several possible opponents for Lauzon this year, including Hermes Franca, Spencer Fisher and Nate Diaz, among others. Those match ups will now have to simmer until Lauzon is healed up and ready to return.

Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later.

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