The question isn’t if, but when Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (23-9) and Michael “Maverick” Chiesa will battle on the ground. J-Lau has a fantastic chance to rebound from two losses in his previous three fights all by decision. He will aim to put his string of judges’ decisions to rest with a submission victory against Maverick, who will be ready when the fight hits the floor. Between these two middleweight submission specialists, who will dominate Fight Night’s ground game?
Three of Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon’s last matches have gone to a judges’ decision, with only one of them going his way. His fight against against Jim Miller in UFC 155 was dubbed “Fight of the Night” and of the year for the crazy battle that ensued. J-Lau took a ton of punishment in pursuit of the win and it showed in his health. He did not fighting until August of 2013 against Michael Johnson where he once again lost a decision after a standup battle. Johnson outclassed him by leaps and bounds, Espn.com credits him with only 28 effective strikes to Michel Johnson’s 128 and 2 knockdowns. However, J-lau’s latest victory against Danzig shows some great recovery on his part and a major improvement in his game. He was able to set up some great submission attempts in the first round, ultimately winning the fight with his offensive takedowns and ground and pound.
Michael “Maverick” Chiesa
Michael Chiesa has fared much better of recent than J-lau. He’s on a two fight winning streak with a submission victory against Colton Smith and a decision victory against Francisco Trinaldo in UFC 173. Chiesa showed not only a great ground game against Smith with his takedowns, but also great reversals when Smith nearly had him finished with a rear-naked choke. He turned it around and was able to defeat him with his own rear-naked choke. Scored 30-26, 30-26, 30-27, Chiesa put a tremendous beating on Trinaldo. The story of the night was the power of his relentless ground and pound that amazingly didn’t result in a KO victory. However, he did almost get caught in Trinaldo’s guillotine and arm lock in the fight. The same opportunity and mistake will spell doom for his fight with J-Lau.
Who will win the ground game?
A victory for J-Lau after his string of losses and health problems would earn him some serious credit in the UFC. He will likely be the more offensive fighter out of the gate and aim to impart his strong, aggressive style. That style has worked in the past, but he has to be ready to defend the reversals and innovative style of Chiesa. J-Lau can’t over-commit in the ground and pound and put himself in a position to be submitted by Chiesa. Regardless of where this fight is going, what will be the most exciting element will be that it can be over in a split-second with a submission. Who will win the ground game? The fighter that minds their p’s, q’s, arms and neck when the fight’s in close.