Jim Miller may have taken his UFC 155 bout with Joe Lauzon on short notice, but the New Jersey native was anything but short on offense when fight night rolled around.
Cutting 30 pounds in six weeks in order to make the fight date, Miller attacked “J-Lau” from the bout’s opening moments at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, chopping away with low kicks before opening a gash above Lauzon’s right eye with a flurry of standing elbow strikes.
“I was able to start landing early, and I got that momentum. Momentum is very big inside the cage. I got that little bit of a lead and just kept the pressure on him,” Miller told Fox Sports following his unanimous decision victory over Lauzon on Saturday night. “We had the game plan of using those low inside kicks, and I’ve been working on my elbows for a couple of years now. I just haven’t really had the opportunity to use them inside the cage, so tonight was a little bit of a coming out party for my striking skills.”
With Lauzon’s forehead leaking like a sieve due to the elbows, Miller continued to pump his straight left into his game opponent’s crimson mask for much of the three-round contest, continually beating his game opponent to the punch.
“We saw that he had some trouble [with Anthony Pettis], so I was just trying to exploit it by throwing that straight [left] down the pipe,” said Miller. “I have to watch that when I’m fighting a righty, as well, but I was getting off sooner than he was.”
Ever the competitor, Lauzon continued to battle deep into round three, finally leaping for a scissor takedown and trying to secure an inverted heel hook before fishing for a guillotine choke in an attempt to finish the fight in the ensuing scramble.
“The heel hook was pretty close, but I was able to control his wrist and point my toes up, like slipping out of a boot, basically,” said Miller of Lauzon’s late submission attempts. “The guillotine at the end wasn’t anything I was really worried about.”
With his win, Miller earns his 11th UFC win in 14 appearances. The southpaw’s only Octagon losses have come to former title challengers Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz and reigning 155-pound kingpin Benson Henderson.
“I’m here to stay. When I step into the cage, I’m looking to leave it all in there,” said Miller. “Fifteen minutes can be a long time if you’re getting beat up, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that long. You just have to suck it up. I look at a fighter getting tired like a swimmer getting wet.”
The “Fight of the Night” winning performance now behind him, Miller hopes that the coming year will provide him with more opportunities to compete than did 2012.
“I hope I’m very busy,” said Miller. “I had eight months off between my last fight and this one, and that was way too long for me. I like to fight every three months.”