Joe LauzonUFC 155: December 29, 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Lightweight Contender Gray Maynard (-275) Profile: Gray Maynard (11-1-1, 1 No-Contest) is coming off split-decision victory against Clay Guida following his two-fight war for the UFC lightweight title against Frankie Edgar that completed their trilogy of bouts. After rebounding from his career loss to Edgar, the 33-year-old is looking to build off his win over Guida and earn another shot at the belt currently held by Benson Henderson. Maynard is arguably the most accomplished wrestler in the UFC’s lightweight division, if not all of MMA, as a three-time Division I All-American at Michigan State alongside teammate Rashad Evans, the former UFC light heavyweight champion.  He has defeated a who’s who of current lightweight title contenders, including Nate Diaz, Jim Miller and Bellator lightweight tournament finalist Brent Weedman. After a late start to his career, Maynard has a more developed repertoire, but he will always rely on his bread and butter – wrestling. UFC Lightweight Contender Joe Lauzon (+205) Profile: A six-year veteran of the UFC, “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (22-7) has delivered memorable performances, from his knockout over former UFC champ Jens Pulver in his debut to his deep run on The Ultimate Fighter, while also winning nine fight bonuses (five Submission of the Night and four Fight of the Night). The 28-year-old Massachusetts native comes to finish, and it usually comes from his slick grappling skills. In his 21 wins, he has 17 submission victories and four knockouts, which is extremely impressive considering his relatively high level of competition. At UFC 136, Lauzon had one of the biggest wins of his career over Melvin Guillard, but it all came crashing down as Anthony Pettis knocked him out with a vicious head kick at UFC 144. Lauzon bounced back with a submission of former WEC lightweight champ Jamie Varner and hopes another win will get him a title shot. Opening UFC 155 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Maynard a moderate -275 favorite (bet $275 to win $100) against Lauzon, who opened as a +205 underdog (bet $100 to win $205) according to the MMA odds. Lauzon is quite simply one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, winning fight bonuses in seven of his past eight bouts. He will be a sharp contrast to Maynard’s last opponent, as Guida tried to stall toward the end of their fight after he thought he had the win wrapped up. Maynard will not be able to take Lauzon for granted as an underdog because he is very capable of pulling off a submission, with 18 of his 22 wins ending that way. However, Maynard is an outstanding wrestler who has never been submitted and knows how to grind out decisions with 11 of his 13 victories going to the judges. A title shot could be on deck for the winner of this matchup, so MMA bettors can expect to see a hard-fought war between two lightweights who are extremely hungry for an opportunity to win the championship belt.


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