Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight scrappers Joe Lauzon and Chris Gruetzemacher battled last night (April 7, 2018) at UFC 223 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Lauzon is deep into his professional career, and lately it’s been apparent. HIs last couple fights were a bit ugly and resulted in some harsh losses, resulting in this significant step back in competition. That said, Lauzon wasn’t the only one in a must-win situation. Gruetzemacher was a The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran with a single UFC victory to his name, but his last pair of fights resulted in stoppage losses.
The fighters opened the bout with a huge exchange that saw Lauzon land the harder shots. Lauzon continued to advance and land before shooting a double leg, which allowed Gruetzemacher to reverse and take top position. Gruetzemacher landed a few decent shots to the body, but Lauzon attacked with a heel hook and returned to his feet.
Back on their feet, Lauzon continued to hand-fight into power punches and elbows. The pace slowed a bit as both men fatigued, which saw both men land close range, hard shots as a result. Lauzon’s chin did not hold up to the brawl, as a combination from Gruetzemacher stunned the veteran.
Gruetzemacher finished the round very strong.
Gruetzemacher came out aggressive to begin the second, targeting the body with jabs and sneaking hooks around the guard. Lauzon really tried to land a takedown, but Gruetzemacher managed to keep his feet underneath him. After the shot, Gruetzemacher went right back to his offense, putting a beating “J-Lau.”
Between body shots, knees, and elbows, Gruetzemacher quickly put a lot of damage on his foe. Lauzon responded every once in a while, but he mostly saw his body smashed and face cut open.
By the end of the round, Lauzon was shambling down wounded and his face was destroyed. Both of his eyes were swollen shut, and his cornermen made the correct decision in calling a stop to the bout.
Gruetzemacher did what he wanted to. He absorbed some heavy shots early — par for the course in his bouts. — but did not slow down at all. After Lauzon had tired himself out a bit throwing and shooting for a double leg, Gruetzemacher turned up the offense. He did an excellent job of targeting the body constantly, which helped ensure that once Lauzon’s wind left him, it did not return.
Both men showed great craft in the phone booth range. Gruetzemacher landed sweeping elbows often, and he rammed Lauzon with knees whenever his foe stopped pushing him away. When Lauzon tried to back off, Gruetzemacher finished the clinch with a snap kick to the body.
This win earns Gruetzemacher some job security moving forward.
As for Lauzon, he doesn’t have the gas tank or durability to compete anymore. If just one of those things were gone — or if Lauzon had stronger takedowns — he would be able to handle a lower-level Lightweight like Gruetzemacher. As is, Lauzon started strong for the opening couple minutes, but the rest of the fight was a one-sided beating.
Realistically, retirement is probably the best option for Lauzon. Unless he’s able to change something drastically, Lauzon will be forced to finish opponents early or suffer a similar beating. His opponents will be aware of that, and finishing an opponent who knows he just has to survive a brief couple minutes is extremely difficult.
Last night, Chris Gruetzemacher scored the biggest victory of his career. What’s next for “Gritz?”
For complete UFC 223: “Nurmagomedov vs. Iaquinta” results and play-by-play, click HERE!