Lightweight bout not taking place at UFC 143
The bout was expected to take place at UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Feb. 4, the UFC's annual Super Bowl Saturday card. But late Tuesday night, the UFC announced that the fight will take place later that month at UFC 144 in Japan. The news was reported shortly before that by MMA Fighting.
Pettis (12-2, 1-1 UFC) is coming off a split decision win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136 last month in Houston. That got him back in the win column after a unanimous decision setback against Clay Guida in June at the TUF 13 Finale, a loss that set him back in the lightweight title picture. Pettis was the last lightweight champion in the WEC and was expected to have a chance to unify the UFC and WEC belts against the Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard winner at UFC 125. But then fight resulted in a draw, Pettis was put on hold. He took the fight with Guida and it was costly. But a win over Lauzon would have him back in the mix.
Lauzon (21-6, 8-3 UFC) picked up one of the most impressive wins of his career, a quick submission over Melvin Guillard, also at UFC 136. Lauzon dropped Guillard early in the first and dove in to finish the fight with a rear naked choke, ending Guillard's five-fight winning streak. The victory was Lauzon's second straight, and he earned his second consecutive Submission of the Night bonus award and sixth straight bonus overall. Lauzon has eight bonuses in his 11 career UFC fights.
UFC 144 is scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena just north of Tokyo. It will be the UFC's first trip to Japan in more than 11 years. So far, the card features a lightweight title fight between Edgar and Ben Henderson, plus bouts involving popular Japanese fighters Yoshihiro Akiyama (vs. Jake Shields) and Yushin Okami (vs. Tim Boetsch). In addition, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has campaigned to be on the card so he can fight again in Japan, where he made his name fighting for Pride.