Joe Lauzon (17-4) held an open work out at Lauzon Mixed Martial Arts yesterday in Bridgewater, MA. “J-Lau” had been preparing to face Hermes Franca at UFC Fight Night 17.
However, Franca tore his ACL while training four days ago forcing the former Lightweight title contender off the card. Jeremy Stephens stepped in as a last minute replacement.
Stephens (14-3) knocked out Rafael dos Anjos back at UFC 91 and has been rumored to face Efrain Escuedero at UFC Fight Night 18 in Nashville, TN on April 1st. Lauzon released an official statement to PRO MMA (http://promma.info) regarding his main event bout next Saturday in Tampa, FL.
“On our feet, it’s the same fight. Stephens is a brawler but, once it hits the ground, it’s going to be an entirely different fight. Hermes is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu; Stephens isn’t as good as him on the ground. He’s going to come out and try to knock me out. He doesn’t want to fight me on the ground. Hermes was a bigger fight but this is a little easier fight for me.
“I was training since early December for Franca. Someday we will fight, especially after what he’s been saying about me being lucky I’m not fighting him. The change of opponents could have been a problem if the replacement had an entirely different style. Stephens may have quicker hands and he’s tough, but it’ll be a similar fight. It’s going to be a great fight and there’s nothing like headlining a UFC show.”
UFC Fight 17 will go down on Saturday February 7th at USF’s Sundome in Tampa, Flordia. The card will air live on SPIKE TV at 9PM/ET.