UFC 144 took place February 25, 2012 from Tokyo, Japan. The card featured a lightweight bout between Joe Lauzon and Anthony Pettis.
Lauzon is a long time veteran who has been a part of the UFC since 2006. He’s largely known for his submission game but is also a good striker as well. He was coming off two back to back victories over Melvin Guillard and Curt Warburton, finishing both opponents by submission in round 1.
Pettis entered the UFC in 2011, coming over from the now defunct WEC organization. Before the WEC shutdown Pettis had defeated Ben Henderson to become the lightweight champion. His highlight reel “showtime kick” to Ben Henderson was known by MMA fans all over the world. He is a very well rounded fighter with great submission skills as well as dynamic striking abilities. In his last fight at UFC 136 he got the unanimous decision over solid fighter Jeremy Stephens.
Lauzon was never known to be in a boring fight and this would be a big step up for Pettis if he could defeat Joe. Lauzon was ready to get a title shot and a victory over Pettis would move him one step closer to realizing his goal.
Round 1: Both fighters come to the center. Lauzon keeps his hands high while Pettis hands are at his sides. They circle briefly, and Pettis immediately throws a fast kick to Lauzon’s body. Joe backs up a step then re-engages. Joe moves forward throwing a couple of feeler jabs, then Pettis throws and lands a quick leg kick.
Pettis circles on the outside while Joe moves forward. Lauzon attempts a couple of jabs and Pettis moves away. Joe continues to press forward while Pettis circles sideways with his hands down at his sides. Joe rushes in throwing 3 or 4 punches, but none really hit the target and Pettis circles away.
Pettis sticks out a jab and follows it up with a one, two combo. Lauzon blocks it and Pettis backs away. Joe comes forward with another one, two punch attempt but Anthony sidesteps and moves away. Pettis moves forward after throwing a quick jab and throws 3 or 4 more punches that Joe blocks mostly with his gloves.
Pettis turns his body sideways while Joe is moving forward and Pettis throws a side kick that lands slightly to Lauzon’s body. Joe brushes it off and continues moving forward, stalking Pettis. Pettis throws jabs to Joe’s face, hoping to keep the distance between them but Lauzon keeps plodding forward.
Joe rushes forward again, throwing another 3 punch combo. Pettis blocks the shots while circling away. Joe follows him and Pettis turns sideways to land a side kick to Lauzon’s upper thigh. Joe takes it and continues pressing forward. Pettis continues to circle on the outside while Joe presses forward. Pettis throws a couple of light jabs to close the distance, and throws a wicked high kick that catches Lauzon right in the face. Lauzon’s body drops to the canvas immediately, and Pettis follows up with 3 unanswered shots that makes the referee come in and stop the fight. Anthony Pettis defeats Joe Lauzon by KO in round 1.