Sometimes these things happen in MMA.
One injury is all it takes to ruin a fight people want to see, but there are some rare cases where an injury has caused a fight to become better and more exciting than it previously was.
In the case of Joe Lauzon versus Jim Miller, this is true.
Miller is filling in for fellow lightweight Gray Maynard, who in his two fights prior to meeting Frankie Edgar wasn’t really all that exciting. It took someone else to bring the fight out in him. Even now, with Maynard’s improved striking, courtesy of the American Kickboxing Academy, you don’t know who you’ll get. Will you get the boring wrestler from when he first entered the UFC? Or will you get the new and improved Maynard of title fights past?
With Lauzon, you can always expect a good fight, as illustrated by the fact that he has won four “Fight of the Night” performance bonuses. That isn’t to mention his six “Submission of the Night” bonuses or his “Knockout of the Night” performance in his first UFC fight against Jens Pulver.
Did I also mention that in his entire UFC career, Lauzon has only been to decision one time? Added in with the fact that only one of his finishes in the UFC came after the second round?
Lauzon has some sweet jiu-jitsu that will just destroy you—see his fight with Jamie Varner—but he also has good enough striking skills to buy himself time before hitting the mat.
Now add in Miller to the conversation. Miller is another guy with some bonuses to his name, earning three “Submission of the Night” victories and a “Fight of the Night” performance way back in his second fight.
Miller has some great wrestling and some awesome heart to get through taking big shots, like those he endured in his fight with Melvin Guillard. Miller survived some really big punches from Guillard that rocked him, and yet he was still able to get Guillard’s back, jump on him and lock in the rear-naked choke for the victory.
Regardless, with Lauzon in the fight you can’t go wrong. It will be an exciting fight no matter what. Rarely does Lauzon put on a poor, unexciting performance for the fans. He still gets to face a wrestler, and if he gets taken down, he will be in a position where he is comfortable and where he can pull off some awesome submissions from his guard.
But Miller gives the fight a little edge with more consistent great and exciting performances, making for a better fight.
Usually, the injury bug leads to less intriguing fights, or even the scrapping of the bout altogether. But in this case, it has led to an upgrade in the action we can expect to see take place when Joe Lauzon steps into the Octagon.
Photo: Jim Miller (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)