The Fight Horizon – Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Johnson
In addition to the already announced Matt Brown vs. Thiago Alves matchup, the UFC has just announced the second fight for their first event on Fox Sports 1. Recent losers Joe Lauzon and Michael Johnson meet in a lightweight scrap to see who stays afloat in the lightweight division (and possibly the UFC).
The Matchup: Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Johnson
Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (22-8 overall, 9-5 in the UFC)
Strengths: Ground game
Weaknesses: Striking, can’t beat the elite
Michael “The Menace” Johnson (12-8 overall, 4-4 in the UFC)
Strengths: Powerful striking
Weaknesses: Ground game, ground game, ground game
The Date: August 17, 2013 at UFC on FS1
Weight Class: Lightweight
What led to it: Both guys lost their last fights and both guys need a win in a big way.
Why it matters: Since losing a competitive match to Jonathan Brookins at the TUF 12 Finale three years ago, Johnson has shown a whole lot of potential, but hasn’t lived up to it by a longshot. The biggest knock on him is his inability to defend the takedown and get back to his feet against guys with solid ground games. 6 of his 8 losses are by submission, the other 2 by decision. Do the math. He’s not getting beaten on the feet, that’s for sure, but guys know the formula to beat Johnson. Take him down to the ground, pound him and set up a submission.
In that regard, Lauzon is a nightmare matchup for Johnson. Lauzon has been susceptible to KO finishes, as recently demonstrated by Anthony Pettis, but one thing J-Lau knows how to do is win by submission. This matchup is eerily similar to Lauzon vs. Guillard. Johnson trains at Blackzilians like Guillard used to, and just like Guillard, Johnson is a devastating striker that can’t compete with guys on the ground. That doesn’t bode well for Johnson, considering Lauzon sunk in rear naked on Guillard.
Johnson is now 4-4 in the UFC and is in all likelihood fighting for his job here. He loses to guys he should probably beat and he’s got a huge hole in his game that’s not likely to improve by leaps and bounds come August 17. He has to win impressively or he could be looking at fighting for another promotion. Lauzon may be in a similar situation and he’s shown his ceiling in the UFC at this point, losing when he faces a step up in competition (Miller and Pettis). However, Johnson is already on a two-fight losing streak while Lauzon is looking to avoid his second loss in a row. One trick ponies won’t be competing for titles any time soon, but they can actually make a living in the UFC…until they start losing. Johnson desperately needs to show he isn’t one dimensional or it could be curtains.