I can pretend I wasn't devastated to hear that Matt Brown had pulled out of his fight with Carlos Condit just one week before it was set to take place in Sacramento, but I would be lying. The extremely important welterweight matchup was originally pegged for my 'People's Main Event' segment, leaving me to scramble at the last minute to select a new one. The true main event between Mighty Mouse and Joseph Benavidez is sure to be a barn burner and is getting plenty of hype from fans and media. The co-main event, which pits fellow Californians Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald against one another, has 'Fight of the Night' written all over it, especially with the added aspect of fighting for the next potential title shot. This fight is garnering a lot of attention on its own and certainly doesn't need any help from me.
Rather, for this week's installment of "The People's Main Event," we decided to focus on a different main-card bout. If there is one that has the potential of stealing the headlines away from the headliners and even taking home one or two 'of the night' awards, Joe Lauzon vs. Mac Danzig is that fight. Neither man is a stranger to post-fight bonuses and stylistically, this is a dream matchup. Both love the submission game and have the ability to knockout any opponent who underestimates their standup. With eight 'Fight of the Night' awards between them, a 'Knockout of the Night' award each, and six 'Submission of the Night' awards for J-Lau, these guys are pretty much guaranteed to put on a good show. Let's start by diving a little deeper into each fighter.
Lauzon is one of, if not the most consistently exciting fighter in the UFC, as he is currently tied with Anderson Silva for the most post-fight bonuses in UFC history. Since joining the organization back in 2006, Lauzon has fought 15 times and only failed to earn a post-fight bonus in four of those fights. His last three fights went as follows. The first was a 3rd round triangle choke victory over Jamie Varner, worthy of both 'Submission of the Night' and 'Fight of the Night' honors. The second was a decision loss to Jim Miller that not only won 'Fight of the Night,' but also took home the award for 'Fight of the Year' in 2012.
And his third was an uncharacteristically boring fight against Michael Johnson in front of his home crowd of Boston, MA, where he lost via unanimous decision. I was in attendance at his fight in Boston, and there was something off from the very the beginning. He didn't look like himself as he walked out to the cage, nor did he bring anything of value to the fight. In fact, I don't even remember him throwing any punches. He circled around the cage and got beat up for three rounds, much to the disappointment of the hordes of Boston fans who came out wearing their Joe Lauzon - Boston Bruins hybrid t- shirts. This is not the same Lauzon fans have come to love, and I'm confident he will sort out whatever the issues were that night and come back with a strong performance against Mac Danzig on Saturday in Sacramento.
Mac Danzig is the season six winner of The Ultimate Fighter and recipient of multiple 'of the night' awards. With one-fight stints in both the WEC and Pride, Danzig bounced around quite a bit until late 2007, when he finally found a home in the UFC. After beginning his UFC career with a 2-0 start, he has gone 2-7 since and is in need of a big victory to snap out of this tailspin and secure his spot on the lightweight roster. An opportunity to defeat a perennial fan favorite in Joe Lauzon, who is dealing with a two-fight losing streak of his own, might very well be the motivation he needs to leave it all in the Octagon this Saturday and take home the victory.
Remember guys. There's nothing more dangerous than a cornered animal. Danzig's back is against the wall and he is fully prepared to come out swinging.
WHAT TO EXPECT
I believe the submission game will cancel itself out, leading to one of two possible scenarios. Either both man chose to keep it standing and we get an all out war on the feet, or they decide to give the ground game a shot anyway, and we see a brand new record for most submission attempts in a single fight. Either way, I can't wait.
If it stays standing it could go either way. Both fighters have shown the ability to knockout an opponent when the situation calls for it and both fighters have demonstrated fairly good chins, each with 1/3 or less of their losses as a result of a knockout (three for Lauzon and two for Danzig). If the fight plays out like this, we have all the makings of a slug fest; one that is sure to be remember for years to come.
If it goes to the ground, I believe the attack will be neutralized quite a bit. That isn't to say both fighters won't stay active, however. I'd expect to see a lot of reversals, both of position and submission attempts, and some really high level ground grappling from both men as a whole. As I said, I don't see either man pulling off a submission against the other as the submission defense is bound to match up nicely against the respective opponent's submission offense. This should be a good one guys. Mark my words.
P.S. For the record, I did not rip this off from RealRadioBlog.com as both usernames belong to me. I recently created a new site, hence the new SB Nation username.