He defeated "The Prodigy", B.J. Penn.
Now he's looking to do it again: First as a coach going up against his former nemesis on TUF 5, then in their rematch set to take place at the TUF 5 finale in June.
Of course, B.J. Penn likely has other plans.
And now, with leakage of a photo of the TUF 5 cast, it appears that we know who the lightweights - yep, that's right, TUF 5 is going to be about lightweights only - will be.
So, let's get acquainted with these fighters, many of which have very little resume to discuss.
Yep, that's it.
Diaz possesses an overall MMA record of 5-2 with two (T)KO's and three submission victories to his credit. Further, he, like his brother, works out of a good camp in Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. All of this would seem to indicate that he has a broad skill set.
However, Diaz has lost to the two best fighters he's faced in Koji Oishi and Hermes Franca.
That said, Emerson- unlike a lot of the guys on TUF 5 - has really been in there with some good competition. After all, this is a guy that has lost decisions to Jens Pulver ( one of the TUF 5 coaches ), Melvin Guillard, and Donkonjonosuke Mishima. Further, Emerson trains with Marco Ruas Vale Tudo, so he gets to go with some pretty good guys in camp, particularly when it comes to grappling.
The fact that Emerson has never been stopped himself would seem to indicate a level of toughness. Could he be a guy that will benefit in a large way from a TUF 5 atmosphere?
Talk about a question mark. No one really knows what he's capable of.
That said, Lauzon is 14-3 with three (T)KO's and 11 submission victories to his credit. In other words, when he wins, it's always by stoppage. Further, Lauzon's three losses have also all come by way of stoppage ( two submission losses and one TKO ).
Taken together, Lauzon is a very good submission fighter that takes chances. Most of the time, these chances pay off for him. Sometimes, they do not. In addition, he's a good striker that has the ability to strike hard and quick, and has won his last four bouts. Still, he's only fought on one huge stage when he defeated Jens Pulver.
So, here's the question: Is Lauzon an up and coming elite fighter? Or is he just a pretty good fighter who pulled off a lucky punch on Pulver and is going to be exposed on TUF 5?
Probably the former. But we'll see.
You see, Maynard was a two-time All American wrestler at Michigan State University. And we all know how elite wrestlers tend to do in MMA.
That said, he's been stopped in every one of his losses, and four of those stoppages have come by way of submission.
Thus, Melendez may be one of those guys that doesn't want to play on the ground.
Thus, he stops a lot of people and is hard to stop himself. Though he's lost to the best fighter on his resume ( Takeshi Inoue ) Miller still may be game enough here to make some noise.
Still, he did put on a good showing against Fisher up until the end (as a late replacement) which is probably the reason why White gave him a shot. Besides, that's what TUF is about, no? Giving guys the chance of a lifetime.
However, the fight against Guillard represents his only foray into a large market event ( the UFC ). Taken further, Ruediger is a ground fighter whose only losses have come via KO. Thus, his jaw and striking skills need to be questioned.
Sims hasn't fought anyone of elite status yet. That said, he looks to be a striker whose only loss came on the ground ( a submission defeat at the hands of Ryan Jensen, a decent fighter ). Further, he's a big and strong lightweight that may have difficulty dropping the weight.
Therefore, Weems may want to get things to the ground.
So, there's the apparent TUF 5 cast. Since this version of TUF won't be broken up into two weight classes, the winner is really going to have to do some damage and win a lot of fights. Looking forward to seeing how Penn and Pulver get along. Further, you've got to wonder if we're going to find one of those gems that just needed a chance with the right trainers and training partners.
After all, a lot of these guys are green. Thus, TUF 5 may truly serve to give a guy a chance that might otherwise not have gotten one.
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