The UFC 155 card scheduled for Las Vegas on December 29th has lost former Lightweight contender Gray Maynard due to a knee injury. Maynard was scheduled to take on Joe Lauzon, and the UFC has annouinced that Lauzon will now face Jim Miller. Maynard was almost a 3 to 1 favorite in the fight with Lauzon at the sportsbooks, and I suspect that the odds will be a lot closer for Miller-Lauzon. Let’s take a look at the repercussions of this injury….
It is a big setback for Maynard, whose recent win versus Clay Guida left him with a bitter taste in his mouth, as he felt he didnt get a chance to showcase his skills against a defensive fighter. That was the only time we have seen Maynard in 14 months, so he must be considered to be dropping in the talent rich lightweight division.
As for Lauzon and Miller, both are very similar to each other, so Lauzon will have to adjust to a fighter who is very different from Maynard. This should not be much of a factor, as there are still six solid weeks before the fight.
Miller, despite a stand out record of 21-4, is 1-2 in his last 3 UFC appearances, and he is coming off a loss by submission to Nate Diaz. Had Miller beaten Diaz, he would have been getting close to a title shot, however that loss by guillotine has him fighting with his back against the wall, he cannot really afford another loss.
Lauzon has an August win over Jamie Varner, but he is still trying to return to a contenders spot again after being flattened by Anthony Pettis in the early part of the year.
Both men should have similar motivations, as their stock took a dive recently, and both need a win to continue to build back up in status. So who is better?
At the sportsbooks, this is going to likely be a pick ‘em type of match, with perhaps Lauzon slightly favored. Lauzon has a reputation as being more of a risk taker, and he has never let any of his fights, win or lose, go the distance. Miller is solid on the ground himself, but he has gone the distance more than once, and he may be at an advantage as the fight wears on. Miller will likely be a bit stronger than Lauzon, and he should have the JJ chops to stay safe and drag the fight on.
For that reason, I am going to pick Miller to upend Lauzon in this fight, with the bout likely going the distance as both men neutralize each other’s skills.