Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon threw down last night (Aug. 27, 2016) at UFC on FOX 21 inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Miller entered this bout following a bit of a rough patch, though he did win his previous bout opposite Takanori Gomi. Following those recent losses, Miller was hoping to begin reestablishing himself as a top Lightweight. Similarly, Lauzon had slipped down the ladder a few notches as well, but he has also shown some significant improvement. Last night, Lauzon had the opportunity to avenge a former loss and begin a new win streak.
Neither fighter wasted any time, as both men traded heavy punches and leg lock attempts within the first 45 seconds of the fight. After the initial wildness, Lauzon kept on the pressure, stalking his opponent with hard punches and forcing him into the fence repeatedly. Overall, the round was rather close. Lauzon got the better of most exchanges early on and scored a takedown, but Miller really turned it on a started tagging his opponent in the last 90 seconds or so. It hadn’t quite reached the legendary level of the first fight, but it was a damn fun start.
The game plans remained the same to start the second, as Lauzon pressed forward with power shots while Miller answered with combinations. While Miller did land in high volume, Lauzon’s heavy punches were definitely tagging his opponent.
With about 90 seconds remaining, Lauzon landed an accidental low blow that tripped up Miller, allowing "J-Lau" to take top position. Both men attacked with submissions, though neither really came close to securing anything.
After a close start, Lauzon’s top control likely earned him the round.
Miller started the third round with a vengeance, scoring a lengthy combination of punches and elbows. However, Lauzon hung tough, returning with a crisp cross and landing a takedown not long after. From half guard, Lauzon did a great job of controlling position and landing strikes. Miller managed to scramble up to his feet a couple times, but Lauzon stayed tight and dragged him down both times.
All in all, Lauzon’s takedowns earned him the decision victory. Or, at least, it should have, as the judges awarded Miller a seriously questionable split decision victory. This bout really showcased what both men bring to the table. Neither Lauzon nor Miller are going to contend for the title barring some sort of miraculous career renaissance, but they can be trusted to bring it each and every time. Lauzon fought very intelligently, and it should have won him the fight. He stayed on the aggressive the entire time, which allowed him to land solid punches and force takedowns. That’s been a problem for Miller as of late, so it was wise of him to capitalize.
Furthermore, Lauzon’s pressure kept him away from his usual stationary defense. When on the defensive, Lauzon covers up and stands still, which gets him in a lot of trouble. That still happened occasionally, but Lauzon negated that problem by forcing the issue.
It’s a shame he wasn’t given the decision, because Lauzon fought well.
To his credit, Miller also put on one of his best fights in years, and the judging controversy shouldn’t take away from that. He did a very nice job of throwing in combination, which allowed him to land frequently and stun Lauzon a couple of times. However, Miller’s issue of being stuck on his back was still apparent. He tried to scramble up a few times, but it’s a flaw in his game that will cost him in the future.
Last night, Jim Miller won a controversial decision over Joe Lauzon. Where do both fighters go from here?
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