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UFC 200 – Lauzon's Best Career Performance
A lot of attention was certainly being centered towards the main card for the historical UFC 200 event, but with this amazingly stacked card featuring a woman’s bantamweight title showdown between Miesha “Cupcake” Tate and Amanda “Lioness” Nunes, and the return of former heavyweight champion and current WWE star Brock Lesnar; many preliminary and undercard fights were becoming a little lost in the spotlight. With all that considered however, this did not stop the undercard competitors from showcasing some amazing fights to get the fans excited and on their feet.
A fight that certainly got fans cheering was the bout between long-time UFC lightweight competitor and TUF season 5 alum, Joe Lauzon; taking on TUF 1 winner, long-time veteran, and former title challenger, Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez. As many would know, both Lauzon and Sanchez are known for putting on epic fights, with neither fighter backing down; even when hurt or making comeback. This match up in particular had no surprise in putting on fireworks as fans expected a thrashing back-and-forth battle.
Lauzon vs Sanchez was scheduled as the featured prelim fight for UFC 200. Both fighters entered the octagon, and Sanchez was traditionally pumped up like we usually see him entering the octagon, his face strict with determination. Bruce Buffer announces the fighters, with Mark Smith as the referee for the bout. Smith signals the fighters to begin, and the fight is on. Sanchez comes to the middle of the octagon early, appearing to look quite aggressive and may be wanting to put the pressure on Lauzon early. A nice body kick from “Nightmare” starts us off with the first landed strike. Lauzon begins to back Sanchez up a little as he pivots forward. Sanchez starts another combination, this time starting with an uppercut, but it's timely blocked by Lauzon. A few more short combinations are thrown by Sanchez, but Lauzon is on top of them with the defense. Lauzon begins to press forward, almost stalking Sanchez. A strong leg kick lands for Sanchez, but does not appear to faze the long-time UFC bonuses winning veteran, as Lauzon placed a flurry of accurate left and right hand shots that trapped Sanchez on the fence, with one of the shots crashing perfectly on Sanchez's chin, sending the TUF season 1 winner down to the canvas. Sanchez was only down there momentarily, as he attempted to grab one of the legs of Lauzon, creating a short scramble back to the feet. A second left hand hits Sanchez again on the chin, sending him back down to the canvas for a second time. Sanchez continues to stay tough, trying to grab the legs of Lauzon in order to stand back up. Lauzon traps the head of Sanchez, in which appears to be holding a potential guillotine choke. Sanchez was able to slip out and scramble back to his feet, not before eating a few elbows from Lauzon on the way up. Sanchez, now back on his feet, was able to secure a Muy Thai clinch, but is still pushed with his back on the cage. Lauzon begins to punch out of the clinch and referee Mark Smith warns Sanchez that he needs to fight back. Sanchez tries to throw a few uppercuts, but the effects of the early knockdowns are surely evident in his mobility.
The two break, but Lauzon smells blood and does not let up on the pressure. He backs Sanchez up to the fence again and begins landing more straight and hook shots. Sanchez does his best to stay tough, as fans usually have come to see him; throwing punches back with no plans of backing down. Another left hand cracks the jaw of Sanchez, who still has his back posted to the cage. Another one hits Sanchez again, prompting Mark Smith to give Sanchez another warning about defending himself.
Sanchez was able to slip away, but is definitely on wobbly legs, as he travels only a short distance till he's stuck back on the cage. Another straight right hand landed flush on the nose of Sanchez and referee Mark Smith has seen enough. Joe Lauzon defeats Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez, 1:26 in the 1st round via TKO
This the 12th UFC finish for Lauzon and was certainly his most impressive showing, especially for such an important night for UFC 200. Sanchez is one of the best durable fighters in the UFC; and for Lauzon to take him out in such a quick and impressive fashion, really shows how much technique and precision can really do for a fighter's game and skill-set.