By: Mike Finch
It’s “Showtime” again as midwest stand-out Anthony Pettis takes on Joe Lauzon at UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson. The fight is set to kick off the unusual seven-fight main-card on Pay-Per-View. This event marks the first UFC in Japan since UFC 29. The exciting lightweights are sure to start the night off with a bang.
Being the WEC lightweight champion, Pettis seemed destined to challenge for the UFC lightweight title. Unfortunately for him, he hit a road block in the form of Clay Guida in his UFC debut. Pettis learned a lesson the hard way; wrestling wins fights. He embraced the fact, and showed improved take-downs in his most recent fight against Jeremy Stephens. Pettis will need his wrestling, especially defensively, against an aggressive attacker in Lauzon.
100% of Lauzon’s wins come by knockout or submission. Amazing, especially when you think of the talented fighters that he has been facing in the octagon. He has heavy hands and an aggressive ground game, always looking for a way to end it. Lauzon has big momentum coming off of a knockout stoppage over Melvin Guillard. He knows that with a win over the always-hyped Pettis, he can finally propel himself into title contention.
This fight has all of the ingredients for “Fight of the Night”. Both being dominantly strikers and submission fighters, the potential for a finish is high. I believe that Lauzon can be competitive on the feet, but he runs a big risk of running into a kick. If Lauzon can get a hold of Pettis and bully him on the ground, I believe he can win a decision. The problem is, I think Pettis’ wrestling now may be too sharp.
Pettis needs to defend Lauzon’s take-downs. If on the ground, Pettis needs to have a sense of urgency to get back to his feet, where he is sure to do his best work. If he can fight this bout at a distance and make Lauzon come after him, I believe that Pettis can land the shot that will end the night.