Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (22-9, 9-6 UFC) vs. Mac Danzig (21-11-1, 5-7 UFC), at UFC on FOX 9
Kicking off the main card of the UFC’s ninth FOX show are these 2 lightweights trying to find consistency and get back in the win column. Both are on 2 fight skids and both are 2-3 in their last 5. With both former TUFers much closer to the chopping block than ever before and with 16 post fight bonuses between them, it’s a safe bet we get one hell of a fight between Lauzon and Mac.
Joe Lauzon came up fighting on the New England fight scene taking on a good degree of tough fighters even before we all heard of him. He burst onto the scene by knocking out former LW champ Jens Pulver back when Pulver was still “Lil Evil” and then went on to participate in the very same season of TUF that Jens coached (awkward). Since his time on TUF things have been up and down for Lauzon as he’s battled injuries and inconstancy but one thing we can almost always count on is a great J-Lau fight.
-Lauzon is one of the more aggressive fighters you will see in the Octagon. He is always attacking and is a highly aggressive, submission based, grappler. Indifferent to whether he ends up on top or bottom, Lauzon will go for the finish from anywhere. He has a great top side armbar and from his back his triangle-armbar series is spectacular.
-While I would not say striking is an overall strength for Lauzon, he has proved to be rather effective at it when the opportunity presents itself. It’s not that he’s a bad striker it’s just that there are so many better ones in his division. Having said that, he is good at sneaking in a game changing punch every once in a while, see the Pulver and Melvin Guillard fights for examples.
-Joe is so effectively aggressive that it becomes an asset on its own. Most guys at this level are so good that an aggressive or reckless fighter would normally give them no worries, but Lauzon can maintain his technique even while going a thousand miles a minute and it is tough to defend.
Joe usually loses to the fighters who can at least keep up with his pace and have him beat in one other area. Jim Miller was able to match Joe’s pace and had more power and Kenny Florian was able to slow him down while edging him in experience and polished BJJ technique. Aside from that, he lands at a pretty low accuracy percentage in the striking game so the more time he spends engaging on the feet just gives his opponents more chances to deck him with a big shot (Anthony Pettis).
MMA vegan lifestyle pioneer and TUF 5 champion Mac Danzig has been fighting since way back in 2001. He fought all over North America against mainly local opposition with a few future names in there as well. After stepping up to PRIDE legend Hayato Sakurai and actually going for it, he made it onto TUF despite being KO’d by “Mach”. Though he started his UFC run looking fantastic he has had a rough time overall.
-Mac is his best when he is able to relax, settle in, and do a little bit of everything. He is solid everywhere and transitions exceptionally well. When he can keep foes guessing and have them worried about the takedown he can land a big punch (Joe Stevenson) and likewise can grapple well when they are concerned with his hands (Tom Speer).
-His technique is super crisp and cosmetically he really looks good when boxing. With his hands high, chin tucked, right hand cocked, and being very light on his feet Mac is one of the more comfortable boxers out there. And on the ground he does all the little things that would make a wrestling or BJJ coach proud.
-Mac’s endurance is also off the charts, you never see the guy breathing too heavy. This has as much to do with his SUPER clean lifestyle as it do conditioning, which is also outstanding. He stays calm and paces himself well making his gas last even longer.
For a guy in such a tough line of work Mac can have a tough time kicking it up a notch. When he is caught up in a fight and the other guy comes out guns blazing for the next round it is rare to see Mac reciprocate. And at this level where everyone can fight, some of these guys blow right through him in the higher gears. He is a little to content to counter and often finds himself reacting rather than dictating.
Whenever 2 fighters from the “ZUFFA boom” fight each other I hate to see either lose. The UFC was really growing as these guys climbed the ranks so I’d hate to see either guy get the boot. Unfortunately for Mac though I see Lauzon being a bit too much for him. If both are healthy I’m picking Lauzon that much more. J-Lau wins by decision or submission.