7. Joe Lauzon Over Jens Pulver
Before Joe Lauzon became known for his spectacular fights and propensity for garnering bonuses, he was a contestant on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. But even before that, Lauzon was brought in for a bout with former champion Jens Pulver.
Pulver was the only lightweight champion the UFC had ever had, and had defeated BJ Penn in his final title defense before a contract dispute saw him leave the UFC. He was stripped of his belt, and the lightweight summit remained empty for years as the UFC was non-committal toward the lighter weight classes.
But Pulver returned four years later, after fighting all over the world, looking to reestablish himself as the world’s premiere lightweight. He faced 22-year-old up-and-comer Lauzon, who was making his UFC debut and known for his submissions.
But due to a perceived significant gap in experience and “Little Evil’s” stout takedown defense, “J-Lau” entered the bout as a 7-1 underdog, expected to be cannon fodder for the former champ. It didn’t quite go down that way.
Lauzon quickly struck for a takedown, but Pulver soon returned to his feet. The aggressive Massachusetts native pressed forward, grabbing the Thai plum and going for a knee to the head. As Pulver pulled away to avoid it, he was met by a left hook that landed flush on his chin, sending him crashing to the canvas, dazed and confused. The referee stepped in soon after.
Their time together on TUF, Lauzon as a participant and Pulver as a coach opposite Penn, must have been pretty awkward.