Justin Gaethje has finished eight opponents, four of them inside one round. | Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
LightweightsJustin Gaethje (9-0, 2-0 WSOF) vs. Dan Lauzon (17-4, 1-0 WSOF)
The Matchup: Unbeaten in nine professional appearances, Gaethje remains one of the sport’s most promising 155-pound prospects. As he showed in a victory over Brian Cobb at WSOF 3, the Grudge Training Center product is still very much a work in progress.
While Gaethje landed the harder shots throughout his matchup with Cobb, it was not the most pristine of triumphs. The 24-year-old was taken down, mounted and threatened with a rear-naked choke in the opening frame and spent much of the contest missing wildly with power punches. A steady diet of leg kicks took their toll on Cobb, however, and Gaethje was able to get the stoppage in round three. Still, it was a rare moment of adversity for Gaethje, who has been largely dominant in finishing eight of his nine professional wins by knockout or submission.
Meanwhile, Lauzon continues to revive a career that floundered after he made his Octagon debut as an 18-year-old against Spencer Fisher in 2006. Winless in three bouts in the world’s largest MMA organization, “The Upgrade” has compiled a sparkling ledger outside of the UFC and currently carries a five-fight winning streak into his meeting with Gaethje. Lauzon has feasted primarily on subpar competition on the regional circuit, but his unanimous verdict over 51-fight veteran John Gunderson at WSOF 3 is noteworthy.
Lauzon will have to rely on his boxing because he will have difficulty dragging Gaethje, an All-American wrestler at the University of Northern Colorado, to the canvas. The Massachusetts native was aggressive offensively against Gunderson, consistently backing his man into the cage with a variety of attacks. Lauzon is not the most fundamentally sound striker, but he has a solid left hand and knows how to work the body.
Gaethje probably hits harder, but he tends to get a little bit wild when headhunting. His ability to use a multi-faceted attack and land in combination will be key in a bout that could turn into a firefight. If Lauzon is taken down, he has an active submission game, but he also allows foes to pass guard with little resistance -- something that a wrestler like Gaethje can use to his advantage.
The Pick: Thanks to his aggression and offensive arsenal, Lauzon is a fun matchup for Gaethje. However, engaging in one too many exchanges will end badly for Joe Lauzon’s little brother. Gaethje wins by TKO in round two.
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