UFC Lightweight bout: George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Lauzon
Betting Pick: Sotiropoulos
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The opening bout of the evening pits two skilled 155 lb. grapplers against one another as Joe Lauzon meets surging Australian contender George Sotiropoulos. Both of these guys have world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so this promises to be a very competitive fight if and when it hits the ground. Sotiropoulos is starting to knock on the door of the title picture, and a win here could be what it takes to earn him a shot at the belt, so the stakes in this one are pretty high.
Joe Lauzon, who burst onto the UFC scene with a win over former champion Jens Pulver and then had a solid showing on Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, is one of the most accomplished grapplers in the Lightweight division. His submissions, not to mention his sweeps and escapes, are as good as they come, and he is a threat to anyone in the division on the ground. The only thing keeping him from being a top contender for the belt is his lack of standup power and his mediocre wrestling. Still, he is not awful on the feet technically speaking and even if he can’t dictate when a fight goes to the ground, his sweeps, escapes, and submissions help him control fights on the ground anyway.
Sotiropoulos, who first appeared on Season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter, has looked unstoppable since his stint on the show. Mixing top-notch submissions, solid wrestling, and very effective boxing, Sotiropoulos has easily handled every test put in front of him so far. What makes him so dangerous is that, so far, he has yet to show any glaring holes in his game. His ground game is obviously his best attribute, but he is effective in every range, and that makes him a threat to anyone in the division.
I think this matchup heavily favors Sotiropoulos, stylistically. Both guys are incredible on the ground, so the grappling game should be pretty much a stalemate, but Sotiropoulos easily has superior boxing and wrestling. I don’t think Lauzon is going to be able to get this fight to the ground, and he will get punched around on the feet. Sotiropoulos by decision.
Prediction: George Sotiropoulos via Unanimous Decision.
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