For lightweight Joe Lauzon (22-7 MMA, 9-4 UFC), predicting the outcome of his UFC 155 fight with Jim Miller is an easy task: "J-Lau" for the submission win.
It's no disrespect to Miller, who has long been considered one of the 155-pound division's top contenders. It's just that in Lauzon's mind, every one of his fights should end that way.
"I predict I'm going to submit everyone," Lauzon told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "I build it up in my mind."
Of course, with seven career UFC wins by tapout, Lauzon's predictions aren't exactly empty chatter. But it's also not just pointless thinking, either. Lauzon said he and his team take a scientific approach to breaking down each opponent and prepping a proper gameplan.
"At the beginning of the camp, which this is a shorter camp, but we build this guy up to be this absolute monster, and we take away all of their advantages," Lauzon explained. "We negate everything. We focus on all of our advantages, and we try to put as much distance as we can where they have advantages and increase the span of our advantages.
"So he is this monster in the beginning, and I've got to go into the cage thinking everyone I go in the cage with I'm going to submit. I'm going to put my hands on them. I'm going to hit them a couple times, hurt them and then catch them in a submission if he tries to get away. That's for every fight."
Lauzon has had to work through that process twice in this camp, as he was originally expected to face Gray Maynard before injury allowed Miller to step in. While both fighters are considered grapplers first, Lauzon said the real challenge came in his approach to the stand-up game.
"The big difference is just that Jim is a southpaw," Lauzon said. "He's a lefty, and Gray was a righty, so that changes up all of our boxing stuff. All your combinations are different now. Your footwork is all completely different.
"We had to switch all that up, but it's all coming along great. It's all good. But that's the biggest thing. Other than that, you look at them, and they both have good wrestling – Gray has the better wrestling – and they both have good jiu-jitsu, but I think Jim has the better jiu-jitsu. I think he's a bigger submission threat. I think it will be an exciting fight, though."
Lauzon's track record seems to prove that likely, as well. In August, he scored both UFC on FOX 4's "Submission of the Night" and "Fight of the Night" bonuses for a thrilling win over Jamie Varner. In total, he's earned 11 "Fight Night" bonus checks, and Miller checks in with four of his own.
In short, it looks like an early candidate to steal the evening's show.
"I think Jim is like me," Lauzon said. "He comes out, and he's aggressive, and wherever the fight goes, he'll be comfortable, and he'll push the pace. He'll try and go for the finish. I really do like the fight. I think it's going to be a frantic pace, and I think someone's going to mistake, and they're going to pay for it."
UFC 155 takes place Dec. 29 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main event is a heavyweight title fight rematch between champion Junior Dos Santos and ex-titleholder Cain Velasquez, which headlines the pay-per-view portion of the show. Lauzon vs. Miller takes place on evening's main card.