The Blood and Guts Ballad of Lauzon vs. Miller

Jim Miller vs Joe Lauzon
Photo by Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The pay-per-view portion of UFC 155 got off to a boring start with three fights that were anything but exciting. Then, the evening’s co-main event began, and fans saw the beginning of what would end up being, as the elders say, one for the ages.

It fights like Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon that remind me of why I’m proud to be an MMA fan. A good fight is fun, but it’s those special encounters that produce the type of story you will be telling your grandchildren about.

Round 1: Jim Miller uses his aggression to trap  Joe Lauzon in a storm of straight punches and powerful inside leg kicks that brought him to his knees.  Lauzon covered up, but it did no good as he was blitzed with an elbow that opened up a cut above his right eye and turned into a bloody mess.

Round 2: Lauzon gets caught in a D’Arce choke, cutting off oxygen to his brain and causing more blood to spill out like a horror movie. Lauzon’s once white shorts are now drenched in red as the crimson mask covers his face. Lauzon was showing tremendous heart, but the general consensus was…he’s done. Someone forgot to tell Lauzon as he reversed Miller to gain top control. Miller used rubber guard to stop Lauzon from gaining any momentum and gets picked up and slammed for his troubles. Miller gets caught in a kneebar, and with the fight slipping from his grasp, he fights his way out of the hold as the round expires.

With the first round unquestionably for Miller and a second-round that could have been scored for either fighter, we have ourselves a do or die third round. Lauzon is back in the game, but Miller won’t be denied.

Round 3: Miller looks to be running out of gas, but he is the last person on the planet that doesn’t want all of his hard work to be for nothing. With even more blood pouring out of his cut, Lauzon hurts Miller with a knee to the body and follows up with a solid left hand. Lauzon gets the clinch, and he and Miller trade punches like their lives depend on it. Lauzon looks like the fresher fighter as the Las Vegas crowd chants the Massachusetts native’s name. Thirty seconds left in the fight, and Lauzon demonstrates Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s beauty with a drop-down scissors kneebar. Miller escapes and immediately gets caught in a guillotine choke with seconds left. The horn sounds. The fight is over. Miller survives as he spits out his mouthpiece and yells, “Thank God.”

Miller won the first, and Lauzon won the third, which means it all comes down to the second round. Miller controlled the action, but Lauzon might have done more overall damage. Everyone loves a comeback story, and Lauzon just might deliver. However, I scored it for Miller, and so did the judges.

This is one of those fights that will beg the question of where you were the night Joe Lauzon fought Jim Miller. I was at Buffalo Wild Wings watching with good friends and some of Massachusetts’ MMA faithful as we all experienced a whirlwind of emotions.

Joe Lauzon has a big following in the Boston area, but loud cheers turned to a deafening silence when he was bloodied up in the first round. No one would say it, but “our guy” was in trouble. Before this fight, Lauzon had a reputation of waning durability as the fight progresses. We feared the worst.

Jim Miller deserves all the credit in the world. However, results sometimes get dwarfed by the enormity of the moment. Jim Miller gets the win, both earn an extra $65,000 for Fight of the Night, and Joe Lauzon captures the hearts of MMA fans everywhere.

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