In my eyes, this has now become a closer, more intriguing matchup.
Both men are arguably top-10 lightweights in the UFC, who are likely a couple of wins away from title contention. A win will likely propel them to a top-five opponent or better.
Here is a head-to-toe breakdown of their impending matchup.
Both men are definitely grappling-based fighters, but both men have also developed their striking along the way.
Jim Miller has won three of his 21 wins via knockout, which is a low percentage. His striking is usually a tool to set up takedowns for himself, but he has earned a knockout from knees and punches in the UFC over Kamal Shalorus.
Joe Lauzon may have some of the most underrated boxing in the UFC, due mostly to his dangerous submission game. He's won four of his 22 victories by knockout, including UFC KOs of Kyle Bradley and Jens Pulver.
Don't forget that it was Lauzon's striking that dazed Melvin Guillard in under a minute, allowing him to choke out the feared lightweight.
Jim Miller has one thing that Joe Lauzon lacks—a background in wrestling. That is why Jim Miller's takedowns are effective in fights.
Miller has used his wrestling skills to set up his ground-and-pound attacks, as well as his submission game. He wrestled in high school and for one year in college.
Lauzon does have decent takedowns, but isn't anywhere near Miller's level in terms of wrestling skill.
This is really one of the hardest categories to pick an advantage for—hear me out.
Although Jim Miller has a higher rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu than Joe Lauzon (Miller is a black belt, Lauzon is a purple belt), Lauzon has won an astounding 18 fights via submission. Miller has also won a lot via tapout, securing 12 submission wins in his career.
Despite the fact Miller is ranked higher in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Lauzon's aggressiveness off his back is enough to make high-level competitors feel uncomfortable.
Their grappling capabilities might actually cancel out in this one.
This is an interesting fight to ponder about. Lauzon could submit Miller, but Miller could submit Lauzon.
When it is all said and done, I think Jim Miller is going to fight a smart fight. Lauzon probably won't be able to put Miller on his back, so Miller can stay away from Lauzon's submission game.
I see Miller using his strength to clinch and fight a grinding fight to keep Lauzon at bay. He will mix up distance strikes with takedowns to score points.
He will not finish Lauzon, but he will definitely win at least two of the three rounds.
Prediction: Miller def. Lauzon via decision