The co-main event at UFC 155 features two of the lightweight division’s most dangerous and talented fighters, in Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon. Looking at their UFC resumes it is somewhat surprising that these two have yet to cross paths. Joe Lauzon showed up on the UFC scene in 2006 by knocking out his future opposing-team coach on TUF, Jens Pulver. Jim Miller went on a two fight win streak in the octagon before his first UFC loss came to Gray Maynard. Miller also had an amazing seven fight win streak that put his name in title contention, and after being derailed by a loss to current champ Benson Henderson, he submitted Melvin Guillard, but fell short of getting an actual title fight, losing a number-one contender fight against Nate Diaz. Lauzon has four losses in 13 UFC fights, and has the second-most post-fight bonuses in UFC history, with 11, just under Anderson Silva’s 12.
It’s also interesting to note that Miller is a replacement opponent for Lauzon, the original being Gray Maynard, who had to withdraw due to injury. Now, as we stand here, at the end of 2012 looking forward into 2013, this fact matters. This year we saw a whole mess of fights get changed or cancelled due to injuries. So you do need to ask yourself when looking at a UFC match-up, is this the result of the fight booking thought process of Joe Silva and the UFC that we have come to know and love? Or is this the ‘plug that hole’ mentality that will see the UFC put anyone not named Tim Silvia in a fight if they need to fill a spot left open by an injury? This affects the evenness of the match-up, and based on the readiness of the replacement, or the neediness of the UFC to get said replacement, we could see a potential war turn into a presumed squash real quick. That’s not the case in this fight, however. This is one of those uncommon instances where the replacement fighter makes for a just as, if not more interesting fight, and this is a potential war, and Lauzon is undoubtedly looking to tie Anderson Silva for most post-fight bonuses.
Lauzon had a fight of the year-candidate war with Jaime Varner which he won, and Jim Miller’s last win was against Guillard in January, which was almost identical to the way Lauzon beat Guillard just prior to that, by 1st round rear naked choke. Lauzon has been finished by Kenny Florian, George Sotiropolous, and most recently Anthony Pettis by knock out in February. 75% of Miller’s losses have come by decision, three of four, with one submission loss. Joe Lauzon does not have any decision victories. One of the prop bet’s I found has Joe Lauzon at a +615 to win by decision, with Miller at a +258 to do the same. Kenny Florian has said that Lauzon is the most dangerous fighter in the first round in the entire UFC. All of his losses though, have come in rounds following the first.
Lauzon likes to try to drop guys, get on them and look for the finish. Miller is a durable fighter though, and may be able to weather the early storm. These guys keep a fast pace and it’s going to come down to whoever fades first, and allows the other to pounce. Miller’s competition has been a little stiffer in the UFC, and the data suggests that Miller should start 2013 off with a W.