Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 103 as long time UFC veteran Joe Lauzon takes on former Bellator stalwart Marcin Held. Marcin Held (Record: 22-5, -110 Pickem, Fighter Grade: C) Marcin Held had won seven of his last eight fights in Bellator prior to signing with the UFC in 2016. In his UFC debut in November, Held struggled with the altitude and lost a clear decision to Diego Sanchez. His fight with Joe Lauzon is his second bout in the UFC. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Held is a gifted submission grappler. Earlier this decade he saw real success in international grappling competitions and he’s taken that success to MMA. He’s won 14 of his 22 fights by submission, beating the likes of Derek Anderson and Tiger Sarnavskiy in that fashion. Held is an aggressive grappler and is willing to work for a variety of unorthodox submissions including kneebars and toe holds. He can take down striking-first fighters, but will struggle to gain top position against any fighter who is focused on wrestling. Held’s so confident in his grappling that he’s willing to pull guard and work for submissions off his back. His striking has improved over the past few years, but is used mainly to set up takedowns and work for submissions. If forced into a prolonged standing exchange, he will struggle. The fighters he has lost to had strong wrestling backgrounds and were therefore able to nullify his grappling attempts. Joe Lauzon (Record: 26-12, -110 Pickem, Fighter Grade: C+) The 32 year old fighter and The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 contestant has been a long-time veteran of the UFC. Dating back to 2015, he’s been exchanging wins and losses in succession. He fought twice in 2016; defeating Diego Sanchez by TKO at UFC 200, but losing to Jim Miller by split decision in August 2016. Lauzon looks to start 2017 right by getting back in the win column. A 10-year veteran of the UFC, Lauzon will appear in his 23rd fight in the promotion at Fight Night 103. During his time in the organization, he’s fought a who’s who in the lightweight division ranging from Kenny Florian to Anthony Pettis to Jens Pulver. Lauzon has proven to be one of the most exciting fighters in UFC history. He’s shown that by earning 15 bonuses in his career; tied with Nate Diaz for the most in UFC history. Furthermore, his six submission of the night bonuses are the most ever in the UFC. Lauzon, like Held, excels in the grappling exchanges. He’s won 18 of his 26 victories by submission. Variety is his strong suit on the mat and he’s capable of finding submissions from a variety of angles. His offensive wrestling is underrated as he’s averaged a very strong 2.38 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. He had struggled with endurance earlier in his career, but he’s made significant strides in that arena and has fought a much more consistent pace in his more recent bouts. On the feet, his boxing has become a formidable weapon with his last three victories overall by TKO. Matchup A very interesting stylistic matchup in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 103 pits American Joe Lauzon against Polish lightweight Marcin Held. The reason it is so compelling is that both fighters have such aggressive submission games. Both guys are capable of fantastic submissions in a grappling exchange on the ground. While Held is dangerous from the onset, Lauzon has faced a who’s who of this division and has seen just about everything this sport has to offer. Furthermore, Lauzon is the much better offensive wrestler and if he has top control Held will a real difficult time seeking out submissions. On the feet, the advantage is also to Lauzon as he has much better boxing technique than Held. He could even bust up Held on the feet. While Held is a threat, the veteran experience of Lauzon and his more well-rounded skill set should be enough to earn a victory in this fight. Lauzon (-105) is worth a small bet.
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