On Saturday, at UFC on FOX 9, veteran fighter Joe Lauzon will once again set foot in the cage. It will be his sixteenth appearance in the Octagon, in a storied UFC career that began years ago.
On September 23rd, 2006, former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver was set to make his UFC return after a 4 year absence, in which Pulver left the UFC to compete in Pride as well as the IFL. Pulver had a standing agreement that he would take a “warm up” fight and then get a crack at his long time rival BJ Penn. His opponent that evening was a young grappler/ IT administrator from Massachusetts named Joe Lauzon (13-3). Going into this fight, everyone knew that the young Lauzon was going to get slaughtered by the former UFC champion, but what really happened shocked everybody.
The fight started and Pulver and Lauzon met in the middle of the cage. Moments later Lauzon ducked under for a double-leg takedown and took the MFS fighter down to the mat. Pulver shook Lauzon off and the two fighters swung for the fences. Lauzon grabbed a Thai-clinch and threw a knee that stunned Pulver, followed by 7 follow-up punches that finished the former champion earning Lauzon a KO victory in his UFC debut. It took Lauzon 48 seconds to score one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
As fate would have it, Lauzon was a contestant on the Ultimate Fighter Season 5 coached by BJ Penn and the man he KO’d months prior, Jens Pulver. Needless to say, Pulver was not thrilled that Lauzon was a contestant on the show and opted not to choose Lauzon during the team picks, leaving him to get picked up by Team Penn.
Lauzon was a heavy favorite to win the tournament (rightfully so) and looked every bit of it in his performances against Brian Geraghty in the preliminary round where Lauzon won via rear naked choke in the first round. Lauzon followed up on this win in his quarterfinal match, defeating Cole Miller in the second round via TKO. Lauzon was upset in the semifinals, losing a unanimous decision to Manny Gamburyan.
Lauzon was brought back to compete on the TUF 5 Finale against Brandon Melendez. Lauzon dominated the first round and submitted Melendez via Triangle Choke in the second round.
Lauzon’s record since his fight at the TUF 5 Finale is 7-6, but he has been in there with some absolute killers, having lost to such fighters as Anthony Pettis, Jim Miller, Michael Johnson Kenny Florian and George Sotiropoulos. Some of Lauzon’s key wins have been over Jamie Varner, Melvin Guillard, Jeremy Stephens and Jens Pulver. Lauzon has become a well-respected fighter in the MMA community and this reputation is definitely well deserved. Lauzon is the definition of “Finisher”, as he has never won a fight via decision. Of his 22 victories in MMA, 18 are via Submission and 4 are via (T) KO.
This weekend at UFC on Fox 9, Lauzon will take on TUF 6 winner Mac Danzig in what could be considered a “loser leaves town match”. Lauzon is on a two fight-losing streak to Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night 26 and to Jim Miller at UFC 155. Danzig is also on a two fight-losing streak to Melvin Guillard at UFC on Fox 8 and Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fuel TV 6. Given Lauzon’s aggressive, fan-friendly style it is unlikely that the UFC will cut him with a loss on Saturday.