Joe Lauzon’s spirit is still there, but the results just aren’t there anymore.
The lightweight has long been one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters, to which his 15 career post-fight bonuses, tied for the company record with Nate Diaz attest.
But on Saturday night, Lauzon took a beating from Chris Gruetzemacher at UFC 223, sending him to his third consecutive loss and fourth in his past five fights. With Lauzon bloodied and with both eyes swelling shut, his corner called things off at the end of round two for a TKO at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
“I kind of was hoping for it,” Gruetzemacher (14-3) said. “He wasn’t going down but I knew it was going down in the third.”
Lauzon (27-15) came out fast in the opening, popping his opponent with a right hand and shooting for a takedown. But Lauzon ran out of gas fast and Gruetzemacher began pouring it on.
Gruetzemacher continued to batter Lauzon in the second round, peppering him with shots to the head and body from bell to bell. Lauzon never hit the mat, though, and his toughness was the only thing that got him to the end of the round.
With the win, Arizona’s Gruetzemacher snapped a two-fight losing streak and improved to 2-2 in the UFC.
“I needed this win,” he said. “We need the money, but I really needed this for my heart.”