Dan Lauzon awaits Affliction developments
Lauzon awaits Affliction
Bridgewater - Conventional wisdom deems that, ”Good things come to those who wait.”
And for Affliction Entertainment lightweight contender and East Bridgewater native Dan Lauzon, that timeless theory will be put to the test in Anaheim, Calif. at Affliction: Trilogy on Aug. 1 - as opponent Chris Horodecki represents nearly a year of frustrating training and preparation.
“The fight was set for Oct. 11, 2008,” Lauzon said. “Then the Affliction show got pushed back to January, and in January (Horodecki) didn’t pass his physical.”
Suffering from a bulging disc in his neck that had sapped his right arm of virtually any strength, Horodecki was forced to pull out of the bout one day following the fighters’ joint press conference.
“At the press conference my dad was saying, ‘It looks like (Horodecki) wants to say something to you.’ But I didn’t think so,” Lauzon remembered. “The next day someone called my manager and said he had to pull out. Then I didn’t know if I was even fighting. They found a replacement around nine or 10 that night, but I didn’t know anything about him. I trained for months to fight a striker, and then I didn’t know what this guy was. I had no idea.”
What new opponent Bobby Green turned out to be was a tremendously aggressive and awkward striker - with very little to lose.
“And those are the toughest guys to fight,” Lauzon said. “If you have nothing to lose, you come in, go 150 mph and hope for the best. That’s tough to fight against.”
Even tougher is fighting through not just one, but three separate low blows in the first round. The free-swinging Green landed an illegal groin kick only a minute into the fight, before unloading a knee and additional kick to the same spot as the round wore on.
“Obviously, (getting hit low) sucked,” Lauzon said. “It wasn’t done intentionally, but the first one messed up my rhythm. I didn’t need that much time (to recover), but my corner said, ‘Take your time.’ The second wasn’t as bad as the first, but the third one - I’m a southpaw, and his foot went right there. And I was already hurting.”
“Then the commission talked to me,” Lauzon said. “He said, ‘You’ll win by DQ - can you fight?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ But they took two points away (from Green). I was surprised by that. He’d need to win the second and third rounds just to get a draw.”
But Lauzon’s labored response from Green’s Golota-esque attack drew some criticism from Affliction commentator and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, with claims of possible “faking.”
“I wasn’t faking anything,” Lauzon said. “It’s easy for someone to say. But Tito saying I’m faking it, he’s a big name, so people are going to listen to him. I don’t think he should have said those things - he wasn’t the one who got hit in the (groin). When he got poked in the eye against Chuck Liddell, I wouldn’t have said that he was faking because I wasn’t the one who got poked.”
When the bout resumed, Lauzon managed to regain control, and submitted Green via rear naked choke with less than 10 seconds remaining in the opening stanza. The win improved Lauzon’s record to 12-2 (6 KOs, 6 subs).
“I was going for leg-locks,” Lauzon said. “I wanted to get him out of there. A heel hook didn’t work, then I got his back and got him with a short choke.”
Lauzon credits Drew Fickett - the King of the Rear Naked Choke - for teaching him the technique. Still, Lauzon was not entirely pleased with his performance.
“I wasn’t too satisfied to be honest,” Lauzon said. “I know I’m better than that. I wasn’t ready for (Green’s) aggressiveness and awkward style. Plus, that first round turned into like a 17-minute round with the low blows.”
Still, overcoming the adversity of low blows was made easier because of the experience gained along the difficult road Lauzon has traveled as a pro.
In 2006, with only four professional fights under his belt - all submission victories - Lauzon was matched up with highly regarded veteran Spencer Fisher at UFC 64 in Las Vegas.
After Fisher’s original opponent pulled out of the fight, several fighters turned down the offer to fight the fearsome 30 year old, who at 18-2 (10 KOs, 7 subs) had never been knocked out or submitted. With older brother - UFC lightweight contender Joe - taking time off following a victory just weeks prior, Dan offered to step in instead.
“At first they weren’t interested,” Lauzon said. “But my manager said, ‘Let us know if you need someone last minute.’ After four or five guys turned it down, they made a last ditch effort to call my manager back. I only trained for eight or nine days.”
Only 18 at the time - the youngest competitor in UFC history - he surpassed expectations: dominating the first four minutes of the fight with superior wrestling and jujitsu skills, before becoming fatigued and getting stopped at the 4:38 mark of the first round.
“And I wouldn’t change anything,” Lauzon said. “I learned more from that loss than I did from my first four fights combined. It was a learning experience, and it definitely gave me confidence, to do as well as I was doing when I wasn’t gassed out. He didn’t really hit me with anything that hurt me; it was the exhaustion. I dropped down because I wanted to get in guard. I wasn’t hurt, just exhausted. I might’ve lasted the round, but there was no more gas left in the tank. I can’t complain about the stoppage - I wasn’t in fight shape at all.”
After dropping his following fight, Lauzon rebounded in a big way with eight consecutive victories. Six of those eight opponents failed to make it out of the first round with the versatile Lauzon, who along with his impressive submission abilities also possesses knockout power in both hands.
Lauzon’s skills are ever-sharpening as a result of rigorous training with his older brother Joe. While rehabbing his knee from a torn ACL the last several months, Joe was forced to stay away from sparring with Dan - such is the intensity of their sessions.
“We always want to one-up each other,” Dan said. “If he hits me with a good shot, I have to get him with two. When we’re training partners, they would have to break us up. It’s a healthy rivalry at times. We grappled the other night for 35 minutes straight. I got him with an armbar about seven minutes in, then he got me with one at 35. That’s pretty much how it always is with us - I’ll submit him or he’ll submit me.”
In the meantime, Lauzon will be setting his sights on Aug. 1 and the Horodecki fight. “I can’t wait for (the fight) to be over,” Lauzon said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve been training so long for him. And I’m only 21. I’m going to be around a long time; I’m not going anywhere.”
The Affliction event can be purchased on Pay Per View, and starts at 9 p.m.
For more information about Dan Lauzon or MMA training, visit www.dannylauzon.com or www.lauzonmma.com.