Lightweights Joe Lauzon (22-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Michael Johnson (12-8 MMA, 4-3 UFC) will open up the UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen main card on Fox Sports 1. Lauzon is coming off a busy 2012, where he was involved in two Fight of the Year caliber contests, while Johnson is under threat of a possible UFC release after losing his 2nd fight in a row.
Lauzon has never lost consecutive fights in his MMA career, and is consistently one of the most dangerous fighters in the lightweight division. There's a sense of desperation in the air for the TUF 12 finalist Johnson, whose early promise had made way for concern over his abilities as a fighter. It's a classic case of "styles make fights" to get the main card rolling. The UFC Fight Night main card airs live on the new Fox Sports 1 network at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Lauzon: 29 years old | 5'10" | 70" reach
Johnson: 27 years old | 5'10" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
Lauzon: L - Jim Miller (UD) | W - Jamie Varner (SUB) | L - Anthony Pettis (KO)
Johnson: L - Reza Madadi (SUB) | L - Myles Jury (UD) | W - Danny Castillo (KO)
How did these two get here?
Lauzon is simply one of the most exciting fighters to ever grace the sport. He's won 5 Fight of the Night awards, 5 Submission of the Night honors, and a Knockout of the Night when he famously upset Jens Pulver at UFC 63. His 2012 got off to a bad start when Anthony Pettis' shin met his head and ended his night in under 2 minutes at UFC 144. "J-Lau" bounced back with a dramatic and thrilling 3rd round submission of Jamie Varner at UFC on Fox 4. He finished off the year against Jim Miller, who battered and bloodied Lauzon but was unable to put him away, and while Lauzon lost the decision he was widely considered to have taken part in the best fight of 2012. Lauzon's last fight in Boston was a dominant submission win over Gabe Ruediger at UFC 118, and he's one of the main attractions for Bostonians tonight.
Johnson may have come up short against Jonathan Brookins in the TUF 12 final, but he showed a lot of promise that made some people believe he could be one to watch in the lightweight division. After winning 4 of his ensuing 5 fights, including a KO of Danny Castillo and a decision win over Tony Ferguson, that claim looked to be justified. But two losses to Myles Jury and Reza Madadi, the latter a 3rd round submission after nearly KOing the Swede in round 1, have turned those praises into doubts about his future with the UFC. Trying to end the losing skid against Lauzon will be incredibly difficult, as he's lost 6 fights by submission and is going up against a dangerous submission specialist in front of a raucous and partisan crowd.
Why should you care?
It's a Joe Lauzon fight for crying out loud! He's literally never had a boring fight in the UFC and this one should produce both excitement and a finish.