George Sotiropoulos (right): Sherdog.com

Two of the UFC’s brightest lightweight prospects will lock horns at UFC 123 on Saturday, as “The Ultimate Fighter” alums George Sotiropoulos and Joe Lauzon meet in a featured bout at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The matchup is heavy with intrigue, as Sotiropoulos represents a significant step up in competition for the budding Lauzon. The Massachusetts native has gone 6-2 during his time with the UFC and has become known for his strong jiu-jitsu game and athleticism. Lauzon burst onto the scene in 2006 when he upset former lightweight king Jens Pulver at UFC 63. Now, the 26-year-old will compete on arguably the biggest stage of his young career, as he throws down in a pivotal 155-pound scrap.

“We're definitely a couple of new guys, and it’s great to be up here [with established UFC stars],” Lauzon said at the UFC 123 pre-fight press conference. “I’m grateful and excited to be up here.”

In Sotiropoulos, Lauzon faces one of his most dangerous opponents to date, as the Aussie holds a wealth of international experience. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has won seven straight fights, including a 6-0 mark in the UFC. His last defeat came against Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki in 2006. Sotiropoulos was disqualified for landing a low blow from which Aoki could not recover. After training for many years all over the world, the 33-year-old is finally ready to break into the mainstream.

“This is the culmination of many years of training, and now I’m finally up here with guys I watched on TV years ago,” said Sotiropoulos.

Whoever wins the matchup stands poised to insert himself into the lightweight division’s title picture, though UFC President Dana White remains noncommittal on the subject.

“I really can’t [comment on the title picture] until that fight happens,” said White. “With [Benson] Henderson and the rest of [the WEC lightweights] coming in, it’s exciting to have more guys in that division.”

Despite noise coming from Lauzon's camp regarding the fairness or lack thereof of Sotiropoulos wearing his trademark ankle sleeves, knee pads and compression shorts, the American, as of late Friday, had yet to file a formal complaint with the state athletic commission. As for Sotiropoulos, he has expressed satisfaction with Lauzon as an opponent. Regarding a possible title shot, the Aussie claims it will be business as usual if and when that opportunity presents itself.

“My intention and goal and lifestyle all stay the same,” said Sotiropoulos. “I'm just fighting, and I want to win. It’s not like that ever changes.”

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Fight Night 81 staff picks: Anyone picking Dominick Cruz to recapture gold?

  • 28 days ago
  • 83 views

The UFC’s second title fight of the new year features a former titleholder who has but one fight in the past four years – yet’s he’s a landslide favorite from our readers to unseat the champ. Filed u read news >>

Invicta FC 15 Preview: Cyborg, Strawweight Championship and Top Prospects

  • 28 days ago
  • 2 views

Invicta FC returns for its first show of 2016, and it is headlined by Cris "Cyborg" Justino in another featherweight title defense. Overall, the card features eight fights with two title tilts. Other read news >>

Video: Tense face-offs at the UFC Fight Night 81 weigh-ins in Boston

  • 26 days ago
  • 132 views

BOSTON – The fighters for the UFC’s return to Boston stepped on the scale today at the historic Wang Theatre, and there were some tense face-offs before Sunday’s card. Check out the highlights inside read news >>

The Beaten Path: Top 25 MMA Prospects for 2016, Part 1

  • 24 days ago
  • 2 views

No other sport needs prospects the way MMA needs prospects. The machine is always hungry. With it being a bloodsport and all, not to mention an individual sport, and an extremely difficult sport, the read news >>

Diego Sanchez meets Jim Miller in UFC 197's featured Fight Pass prelim fight

  • 22 days ago
  • 7 views

The UFC’s new strategy of putting highly marketable bouts on the Fight Pass-streamed portion of its cards will continue in March. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

The Beaten Path: Top 25 MMA Prospects for 2016, Part 2

  • 21 days ago
  • 8 views

The constant, relentless grind of the UFC and Bellator eats up dozens of new fighters every year. One hundred three new contestants debuted in the UFC in 2015, less than half of the 230 who made thei read news >>

BREAKING: Judge Kills Possibility of UFC Fight at Madison Square Garden in April | FIGHTLAND

  • 17 days ago
  • 288 views

The UFC’s motion for an injunction against New York’s anti-MMA law was denied. read news >>

Gonzaga-Magomedov, Blachowicz-Pokrajac, other bouts join UFC Fight Night 86 in Croatia

  • 15 days ago
  • 12 views

The fight card for the UFC’s debut in Croatia now has its first four matchups, officials today announced.Filed under: News read news >>

UFC on Fox 18 Results: Cloak or No Cloak, Rothwell Deserves Next HWT Title Shot

  • 12 days ago
  • 11 views

Not even the UFC’s new dress code could stop Ben Rothwell. Rothwell said he was preparing to make his walk to the cage on Saturday for his co-main event bout against Josh Barnett at UFC on Fox 18 whe read news >>

Despite UFC’s New, Bold Drug Policy, Michael Bisping Says Fighters Are Still Willing to Cheat

  • 11 days ago
  • 17 views

Despite the UFC's recently implemented drug testing policy, middleweight contender Michael Bisping says cheaters are still going to cheat. read news >>