- LAUZON WANTS MELENDEZ DOWN AND OUT

June 23, 2007
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by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Joe Lauzon entered the UFC back in September to be a stepping-stone for former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver. Lauzon proved he wasn’t to be taken lightly as he knocked Pulver out in just 48 seconds of the first round.

After that, he took the opportunity to be a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter. With Jens being one of the coaches, some fans thought there would be some animosity. Apparently, it was just the opposite. “It wasn’t too bad,” said the Massachusetts native. “It was a little awkward at first. Day one when I walked into the gym, he came up and gave me a hug. There was never really tension.”

This season of The Ultimate Fighter was one of the better seasons there’s been. There were great fights, as well as a lot of drama in the house. Joe never seemed to be a part of it though. Even with the fight between Noah Thomas and Marlon Sims, Lauzon was nowhere to be found.

“I missed so much stuff. I saw that for myself when I watched the episode. If I wasn’t training or eating, I was sleeping.”

Lauzon took on Cole Miller in a very entertaining fight that ended with some controversy. Joe accidentally elbowed Miller in the back of the head in a fight that he was winning.

“I do agree that I was winning the fight. Some people say that Cole was faking or whatever. That definitely wasn’t the case. He was hurt. I felt really bad about it.”

Shortly after the elbow, Lauzon finished Cole Miller.

His next fight was against The Ultimate Fighter Finalist Manny Gamburyan. This fight did not go the way Lauzon intended. Manny took Joe down at will and held him there.

“I did a very good job defensively. I can count on a number or times that he hit me clean. I didn’t do enough offensively. He’s good on the ground. He was too strong. I couldn’t move him. It was a bad style match up for me, I think.”

With the finalists set for Saturday night, MMAWeekly Radio tried to get an answer out of Joe for who would win the contest.

“I’m not sure,” Lauzon said. “A week or so ago, I thought Nate was gonna win. I thought he had more tools to win. After me watching the fight with Manny though, I can see him doing the same thing to him that he did for me. It’s too close. You could flip a coin either way.”

‘J-Lau’ will also be fighting on Saturday night against fellow The Ultimate Fighter 5 contestant Brandon Melendez. Lauzon is very confident in his ability to defeat Melendez, even though he would consider him a friend.

“I think it’s a good match up for me. I’m gonna try to take him down. He’s a brawler. He’s gonna try to keep it standing. He’s a lot bigger than me. I think if I can get him down, that would be good for me.”

Joe has a ton of talent, and regardless of his fight against Manny, he has a very bright future ahead of him. Anyone who can knockout Jens Pulver deserves credit and recognition. Lauzon always comes ready to fight and he plans on bringing it to Melendez on Saturday night.

“I’m coming at him hard. It’s not gonna go to decision. He’s gonna try to knock me out, and I’m gonna try to put him away.”

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