At UFC 155, Cain Velasquez may have recaptured the UFC heavyweight championship, but the fight that everyone was talking about on Sunday was the epic bloodbath between Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon.
The pair of lightweights showed websites like MMAfighting.com why it's presumptuous to give away Fight of the Year honors before the final fight card of the year has taken place.
It didn't take long for these submission aces to show that they can bang with the best. The first round saw combinations from each man, with Miller throwing a pair of hooks followed by an uppercut on a few occasions.
The secret of Miller's success came from utilizing a single arm collar tie on Lauzon. In the opening minutes of the bout, the New Jersey native grabbed the hold twice and was able to deliver short elbows, a knee to the midsection and an uppercut from the position.
Lauzon seemed a bit predictable early on, sticking with a left jab, right straight combo over and over again. Around 2:10, J-Lau threw that combination for a third-consecutive time and Miller was waiting for it. As soon as Lauzon's right hand finished firing, Miller landed a trio of hooks before grabbing the single collar tie once again.
At this point, Miller landed three elbows that opened a nasty gash above Lauzon's eye, which he followed up with some uppercuts. As Lauzon turned to get away, Miller attempted to lock in a standing arm triangle, which looked really close for a brief moment.
The bleeding at this point was so bad that Yves Lavigne called time as soon as the combatants separated. The ringside official allowed the fight to keep going and the slugfest continued.
Miller continues to press forward in aggressive fashion, throwing more elbows and hooks, as well a rare head kick. Lauzon seems a bit more fired up after the check and he lands a nasty knee as Miller leaned forward.
With each man covered in Lauzon's blood, they traded body shots, low kicks and haymakers until the first bell sounded. I've got it 10-9 for Miller.
Round 2 begins, and we can see that Lauzon has a 3-4 inch gash directly above his right eye. With vaseline holding the blood in temporarily, it was obvious that the canvas was about to be covered in plasma.
They come out aggressive again after Lauzon motions to the crowd to make some noise. The striking doesn't last long though, as Miller ducks under a punch and shoots a big takedown.
Lauzon briefly utilized butterfly guard before switching to a closed guard while attempting to sweep Miller. Instead, Miller was able to pass into half guard while applying pressure to the cut with his shoulder.
Miller took advantage of Lauzon bucking and used the momentum to ride into mount, although half guard was recovered again. While Lauzon tried to get up, Miller looked for a D'arce choke, but was unsuccessful in achieving it, as Lauzon got to his knees and drove through for a takedown.
After affording them the opportunity to get settled into guard, referee Yves Lavgine once again stops the fight, but it's not about the cut. Joe Lauzon had a large chunk of his wrist tape unravel, so Lavigne called for scissors and cuts the excess before restarting the action.
When they restart, Miller looks for rubber guard and Lauzon passes into half guard while searching for a submission. Dropping back, J-Lau looked for a straight ankle lock, transitioned into a heel hook and when that failed, he attempted a knee bar, but wasn't above the knee enough to lock it in.
Despite losing a lot of blood, Lauzon is looking very comfortable in the cage as we end Round 2. The success at the end might steal the round in the eyes of some judges, but I've got it 10-9 Miller.
Both corners gave pep talks to their fighters about who wants it more before Round 3 opens with low kicks and looping hooks from Miller, who started to look drained. For the second time in the round, a low kick from Miller has enough pep behind it to sweep the leg out from J-Lau and send him to the ground, but he wanted the action standing.
Two minutes into the final frame and Miller is looking to land elbows from short distance, but this time does not look for the single collar tie first. It isn't effective, but a Lauzon knee to the midsection stunned Jim for a moment.
Each man is slowing down with 100 seconds left in the fight, with Miller being the aggressor and Lauzon mostly covering up, but still throwing combinations after taking a deep breath.
In the final minute, Lauzon is looking for a way to finish this fight, but is having trouble connecting with big shots and a flying knee misses. With 29 seconds left on the clock, a desperate Lauzon attempted a flying heel hook that was close, but unsuccessful.
The clock continued to tick away as Lauzon fully locks in a front choke that has Miller in trouble. It was in deep and there is no question that Miller is doing anything he can to survive until the horn, which he does.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Miller, which is the correct scoring, as Lauzon earned himself the final round as neither man stood out in the striking department and with his near submissions at the end.
What a way to end 2012!
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