Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon lived up to their reputations as aggressive finishers at UFC 155. While this co-main event bout would (surprisingly) last its allotted 15 minutes, leaving judges to determine the winner, both men fought to finish from the outset of the fight.
Joe Lauzon was forced to battle through extreme diversity early, as Miller unleashed a hellacious attack, brutalizing “J-Lau” early with powerful punches and savage elbows. Lauzon, who himself is recognized as a remarkably fast starter was forced to lean on his defensive abilities in order to survive what appeared to be imminent first round defeat.
But Joe did survive.
Bloodied, and bruised, Lauzon answered the bell for the second round determined to return the favor. While he failed to inflict the measure of damage that Miller succeeded in, he landed some nice punches, worked well in the scrambles and had a few moments once the fight hit the mat.
He also maintained a high output offense throughout the course of the fight, which is something we don’t consistently see from Lauzon. If there’s been any major knock on the Massachusetts native, it’s been centered on his cardiovascular conditioning. Joe’s been known to be a berserker who fades outside of the seven- or eight-minute mark.
Not last night.
Miller kept himself one step ahead of Lauzon for the vast majority of the fight. His movement looked amazing, his pace was relentless and his will to win never wavered. But Joe attempted, valiantly, to match Jim’s attack. While he was incapable of delivering the same measure of offense, Joe never faded, he never wilted and he never once succumbed to the idea of defeat.
It was a gutsy performance from the known finisher. Unfortunately for Joe, he ran into a wrecking ball in Miller.
Jim turned in what may be the most impressive fight of his career last night. His striking, which has been one of the most aesthetically pleasing tools in his belt for years, looked sharper than ever before. He looked powerful, determined and intelligent, careful to avoid the heavy counters of his opponent, happy to counter those counters with quick combinations.
Miller held a clear wrestling advantage in this bout, but unlike a few of the…less than stimulating fights on the undercard (cough, cough, Okami vs. Belcher, Brunson vs. Leben), there was no thought of stalemates on the canvas. Miller kept busy with plenty of strikes, as he turned a half-inch cut over Lauzon’s right eye into a two-inch cut, and Lauzon consistently fished for potential submissions.
These two men brought their hearts into the octagon and left them there, along with every ounce of energy in their bodies, and, for Joe, damn near every ounce of blood. If that wasn’t a copious pouring of plasma, I just don’t know what is.
The two picked up an additional $65,000 and “Fight of the Night” honors, and they most certainly deserved such recognition. This was an action-packed bloody fight that unraveled at a frantic pace and completely stole the show. It may have been the big boys on center stage, but it was the lightweights who truly brought the crowd to life.
Follow me, chastise me, praise me… whatever you please, over on Twitter!