Joe Lauzon has gone the distance twice in his 30-fight career. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Joe Lauzon has accumulated a small fortune by blending together guts, gore and skill with stunning regularity.
The 29-year-old Brockton, Mass., native will seek a record 13th post-fight bonus when he meets Michael Johnson in a lightweight showcase at UFC Fight Night 26 on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston. In 14 Ultimate Fighting Championship appearances, Lauzon has pocketed six bonuses for “Submission of the Night,” five more for “Fight of the Night” and another for “Knockout of the Night.”
Those 12 post-fight bonuses -- the total haul from which approaches $600,000 -- tie Lauzon with former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for most on the all-time list.
“He just lost and didn’t get a bonus, so this is my chance to overtake him and be the undisputed champion of bonuses,” Lauzon told Sherdog.com. “I never set out with bonuses in mind. They happen a lot of times. For the most part, I’m focused and I’m just trying to get the win. My style naturally wins me bonuses.”
A semifinalist on Season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Lauzon last fought at UFC 155 in December, when he dropped a unanimous decision to AMA Fight Club’s Jim Miller at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It was one of the bloodiest battles of 2012 and resulted in 40 stitches for “J-Lau,” as a barrage of wicked standing elbows opened a diagonal laceration near his right eye.
“After I looked like Frankenstein for a few days, scaring all kinds of women and children at the airport, it definitely got a little better,” Lauzon said. “I had to go to a wedding like a week later, so those pictures didn’t come out all that great.”
A mainstay in the 155-pound division, Lauzon has secured all 22 of his wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Known for pushing a frenetic pace and engaging in firefights, he has no lingering concerns regarding the cut.
“It’s gotten head butted and elbowed and kneed and all kinds of stuff and hasn’t shown any signs of splitting or anything,” Lauzon said. “I’m sure it could open again, but I had skin like a baby on my forehead before and still opened up, so it doesn’t matter.”
In Johnson, Lauzon confronts a talented but enigmatic opponent in desperate need of victory. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 finalist has suffered consecutive losses to Myles Jury and Reza Madadi. Though Johnson holds a four-inch reach and one-inch height advantage, Lauzon believes he has the upper hand, particularly in the grappling department. According to FightMetric figures, “J-Lau” has attempted 24 submissions inside the Octagon, trailing only Chris Lytle (31) and the aforementioned Miller (29). Moreover, his 3.98 submission attempts per 15 minutes ranks fifth on the UFC’s all-time list behind Paul Sass (7.38), T.J. Waldburger (6.36), John Albert (6.14) and Dustin Hazelett (4.14).
“I really like the matchup,” Lauzon said. “I think everyone’s tough. I trained really, really hard for this fight, but at the same time, I think we have the tool set to beat him. I think standup is pretty even. I feel like wrestling is pretty even. I feel like [in] jiu-jitsu I have a huge advantage, so the fight’s going to be all about getting the fight down to the ground, beating him up there and submitting him on the ground.”
Lauzon grew up in East Bridgewater, Mass., a little more than 20 miles from the TD Garden. He has never lost in his home state, a one-sided submission victory over Gabe Ruediger at UFC 118 among his 13 wins there.
“Sleeping in my own bed will be awesome,” Lauzon said. “I did it last time and I’m going to do the same thing this time. It’s so much nicer. In the beginning it’s nice, fighting in the UFC [and] going to all these different places -- [Las] Vegas, Japan and all these other places -- but I can’t express how happy I am to be sleeping in my own bed, training at my own gym, eating at all the places I like to eat and having everyone here.”
Back in the Saddle
The embarrassing aftertaste remains for Alistair Overeem.
The 33-year-old Dutchman will compete for the first time since his knockout loss to Antonio Silva in February, as he locks horns with Travis Browne in the UFC Fight Night 26 co-main event. The defeat to “Bigfoot” snapped an eight-fight winning streak for Overeem and cost the “Demolition Man” his ticket to a big-money title bout against UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
“I took some time off after the loss,” Overeem said during a pre-fight media call. “I took my time, and I was fighting injured, so I couldn’t train at 100 percent anyways. Then I went back at it.”
Overeem was originally booked to face onetime heavyweight titleholder Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 in May but withdrew with an undisclosed injury. The once-beaten Browne represents his first chance to erase the memories of his ill-fated encounter with Silva.
“I’m just really focused on Travis,” Overeem said. “I’m coming off an injury and getting back on track. I made a lot of changes with my camp and got involved in the process. I put 100 percent into my preparation.”
This & That
Home to the NBA’s Boston Celtics and the NHL’s Boston Bruins, the TD Garden opened on Sept. 30, 1995 at a cost of $160 million ... Mauricio Rua has not posted consecutive wins since he defeated UFC hall of famers Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell in 2009 ... Team Alpha Male patriarch Urijah Faber owns a 17-0 career record in non-title bouts ... Syndicate MMA’s Mike Pyle was one of five men to hold the World Extreme Cagefighting welterweight crown, along with Nick Diaz, Shonie Carter, Karo Parisyan and Carlos Condit ... “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 finalist and former Ring of Combat champion Uriah Hall will hold a five-inch height and an 8.5-inch reach advantage over the returning John Howard ... Michael McDonald, who does not turn 23 until January, is the seventh-youngest fighter on the UFC roster ... Fast-rising Irish featherweight Conor McGregor was a two-division champion inside the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship promotion, having held gold at 145 and 155 pounds ... When James Vick was born on Feb. 23, 1987, the top five movies at the box office were “Platoon,” “Outrageous Fortune,” “Mannequin,” “Over the Top” and “Black Widow” ... Ovince St. Preux set single-season records for sacks (18) and tackles (75) as a senior at Immokalee High School in Naples, Fla., and went on to play linebacker and defensive end at the University of Tennessee ... American Top Team’s Mike Thomas Brown once held a job as a merchandiser for Budweiser ... Manny Gamburyan trains under Gokor Chivichyan with Team Hayastan in North Hollywood, Calif., more than 7,100 miles from his hometown of Gyumri, Armenia ... Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export Diego Brandao was the first Brazilian to ever win “The Ultimate Fighter.”