In Michael Johnson and Joe Lauzon, the UFC had two fighters who seemed like they were going to become the next big thing at one point or another. But on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 26, they both needed a win.
Nobody will deny that Lauzon is a solid lightweight. His exciting style has wowed fans for years, but he hasn't had three UFC wins in a row since 2007, and even that streak was broken up by his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. His most recent effort was a lopsided beatdown for two rounds at the hands of Jim Miller.
Johnson seemed like he was the clear-cut best fighter coming out of TUF 12, including actual winner Jonathan Brookins. An impressive 4-1 run following the show appeared to make that a certainty. Then he lost to Myles Jury and Reza Madadi.
With both fighters throwing all their cards on the table, Johnson scored by far the biggest win of his career, taking a huge unanimous-decision victory back to Florida.
So what did we learn?
Joe Lauzon Is Allergic to Left-Handed People
Johnson in southpaw is bad for Lauzon.— Steven Rondina (@srondina) August 18, 2013
That was me seconds before Johnson nearly decapitated Lauzon with a massive straight left.
Lauzon has had some serious trouble with lefties. He now has back-to-back losses coming from striking-focused assaults from wrestlers coming out southpaw. That's bad.
Johnson is talented, but Lauzon is a wily veteran. This loss says, at least to me, that something needs to be changed in the Bay State with his camp.
Michael Johnson Is Suddenly Really Good
I know I'm not the only guy who was taken aback by the quickness, accuracy and ferocity shown by Johnson early on in the fight. He consistently threw scary straight lefts and landed more than a few of them.
Where the hell did that come from?
He is a wrestler by trade, but his hands are what really impressed me. We'll have to see if he can look that good in his next fight. If he can, we might just be looking at a future title contender.
The Blackzilians Curse Might Be Gone
The Jaco Hybrid Training Center went from sensation to running gag in short order. Now, the Blackzilians seem to be regaining their swagger after an ugly stretch.
Johnson just scored an enormous victory. Rashad Evans beat Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort continues to surge, Thiago Silva scored a big win over Rafael Cavalcante, and Tyrone Spong beat...some guy last week.
Things are suddenly looking good for the Florida camp.
Fox Sports 1 Is...Just...Awful
I normally wouldn't bring this kind of stuff up in a "what we learned" article, but since this is the first main card fight of an event tailored to celebrate a network's launch, I'll make an exception.
Fox Sports 1 seems terrible at this point.
Now, there's no arguing with the impressive amount of actual sports content the network has to offer. There's no debate with the NCAA, NASCAR, UFC and more. That said, I can honestly say I won't be tuning into Fox Sports 1 again until Fight Night 27.