In a Lightweight fight at UFC on Fox 4, former WEC champion Jamie Varner (20-6-1(2) MMA; 2-1 UFC) faces Joe Lauzon (21-7 MMA; 8-4 UFC). This is the second of four main card fights to air on Fox. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently have Lauzon as the #14 Lightweight in the world, with Varner unranked. UFC on Fox 4 airs live on Fox Saturday night August 4 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
This was originally scheduled as Lauzon vs. Terry Etim, but an injury forced Etim out and Varner in. And to be honest, I find the new fight much more compelling. Look for Varner to try and outbox Lauzon, while Lauzon goes for the quick first round submission. The Lightweight division is always stacked, but this is a good chance for one man to take a step forward on the big stage of Fox.
How do these two stack up?
Varner: 27 years old | 5'8" | 72" reach
Lauzon: 28 years old | 5'10"
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Jamie Varner had a brief 1-1 run in the UFC back in 2006/2007, but it was in the WEC where he made his name. In 2008, Varner took the WEC Lightweight title from Rob McCullough, successfully defending the belt twice. He became embroiled in controversy after a defense against Donald Cerrone, and quickly became portrayed as the bad guy of the division who wasn't at the same level as Cerrone and Ben Henderson. He ended his WEC career on an 0-3-1 run, was not picked up by the UFC, and seemed destined for obscurity until he upset Barboza at UFC 146. Now, he's suddenly back in the mix. Varner is a wrestler out of the Arizona Combat Sports team, but is also very good with his hands.
Joe Lauzon burst into the UFC in 2006 with a KO win over Jens Pulver. He's been a fixture of the UFC Lightweight division ever since. Lauzon's strategy in fights is clear - use strikes to set up an early submission. And it's been very effective, earning him wins over the likes of Melvin Guillard and Jeremy Stephens. But despite his successes, Lauzon has never taken that step up and made a real run. His win over Guillard last fall put him in a great position, but his subsequent KO loss to Pettis stopped that momentum dead.
Why should you care?
Lauzon fights always have the potential to be fast and furious, and Varner can bring the excitement as well. Add in Varner's quest for redemption story and I am sold.
More UFC on Fox 4 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.