MMASucka’s Staff Choose Their Favorite Lightweight Fights

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This weekend at UFC 281 the world will be treated to another lightweight bout for the ages. Dustin Poirier will finally meet Michael Chandler as the pair face off for a chance to become the number one contender in the division.

With another amazing lightweight fight happening it got us thinking, what are our favorite lightweight fights in history? 

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The lighter-weight divisions have always delivered on the entertainment factor so the list here is endless. We asked our staff for their favorite, not what they see as the best, lightweight fights and these are the answers we got.

Jack Goodwillie – Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 1 

There is no UFC division that has produced the greatest hits the lightweight division has, particularly in five-round title fights. However, I wanted to highlight an oft-forgotten banger between two of the division’s most legendary fighters to never challenge for the strap. Jim Miller fought Joe Lauzon twice in his legendary career, but the first fight, the co-main event of UFC 155 (appropriate), deserves a mention. The lightweight division at the time was the UFC’s best – stacked from top to bottom with well-rounded talent who had the durability, stamina, and killer instinct to deliver Fight of the Night performances on a routine basis. Miller and Lauzon fit this description to a tee, and when they entered the cage minutes before Cain Velasquez took his heavyweight title back from Junior Dos Santos, it was of little surprise to anyone just how good that fight was.

Miller had Lauzon hurt several times and cut him badly on multiple occasions. However, Lauzon kept composed, even threatening Miller with a heel hook and guillotine in the fight’s waning seconds, sending the Vegas fans into a frenzy. It’s a fight you truly have to see to believe and ranks among the best three-round fights in the history of the division in my humble opinion.

Miller and Lauzon clash in an instant classic

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 29: (L-R) Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller trade punches during their lightweight fight at UFC 155 on December 29, 2012 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Frazer Krohn – Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 218

Who’s the most violent?” Eddie Alvarez sits atop the cage having just gone through a brutal war with foe, Justin Gaethje for almost three full rounds. With a combined 277 significant strikes with over 600 total strikes thrown, the two men left it all in the octagon.   On the night, Alvarez handed Gathje his first professional loss, however, it didn’t take anything away from Gaethje’s profile. Gaethje stuck to his guns, landing 37 brutal leg kicks, marching forwards throughout, and throwing with little caution. Alvarez was known at the time as an all-action guy, however, he was without a win in his last two fights. He bounced back with a brutal knockout. Alvarez was able to out-dog Gaethje, getting him into the clinch and landing a knee that sent Gaethje crashing to the canvas.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 02: (R-L) Eddie Alvarez punches Justin Gaethje in their lightweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jeremy Brand – Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2 & 3 

There are many options one could look at when it comes to the greatest lightweight fights of all time. But in my mind, two fighters stand out above the rest, and in fact, they had two of the greatest lightweight fights of all time – Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard.

The two matches happened in 2011 the first ended in a draw, making the second much more intriguing. In both accounts, Maynard flew out of the gates with haymakers and numerous times put Edgar on dream street. In each fight, Edgar miraculously bounced back and regained his composure, finishing Maynard in the second fight to once again keep the title around his waist. 

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 08: (R-L) Frankie Edgar punches Gray Maynard during the UFC 136 event at Toyota Center on October 8, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

If you have not had a chance to watch both of these fights, then hop on UFC Fight Pass and search for UFC 125 and UFC 136.

Timothy Wheaton – Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC on Fox 29

Justin Gaethje vs Dustin Poirier is truly a matchup representing the finest violence in MMA. Two all-star strikers throwing down in a fireworks display. The heavy kicks from Gaethje were clearly affecting the Lousiana-born Poirier.

After landing hundreds of strikes, the two warriors were happy to stand in the pocket and trade combinations.  The sharper Poirer was landing with slightly more accurate strikes, but dangerous Gaethje was throwing at full power. Gaethje even attempted a front slip head kick at one point. Given the action up to that point, it didn’t even feel out of place.

GLENDALE, AZ – APRIL 14: (R-L) Dustin Poirier throws an elbow at Justin Gaethje in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Gila River Arena on April 14, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

In round four, Poirier countered a leg kick from his opponent with a thunderous cross. The Lousiana fighter hobbled at his stumbling opponent. While Gaethje was clearly rocked, Poirier threw a flurry of punches to put away Justin Gaethje.

This fight was awarded fight of the night honors and was later given ‘Fight of the Year’ awards from multiple publications.

Brian Knight – Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez 1 at Bellator 58

Entering the fight, Chandler was on the rise, but relatively inexperienced. Alvarez had cemented himself as the dominant champion at 155, so to see Chandler rise to the occasion and to push Alvarez to his uttermost limit was a sight to see.

Ben Jamieson – Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida at TUF UK vs. USA Final

Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida set levels for all-out violence that went unmatched in the Lightweight division until the arrival of Justin Gaethje. A brutal striking showing from Sanchez in the first. A dominant ground-and-pound display from Guida in the second. Both men came out tentatively in the third, cautious to avoid a repeat of the rounds they lost. They traded bombs for four minutes until Sanchez got to Guida’s back and tried to finish him with various submission attempts. It was a bloodbath. It was a war. It was an absolute classic.

LAS VEGAS – JUNE 20: Diego Sanchez (L) battles Clay Guida during their Lightweight bout at The Ultimate Fighter 9: Team US vs. UK Finale at the Pearl at the Palms Hotel and Casino on June 20, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Andrew Harbaugh – Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez at UFC 166

A dream fight for longtime fans of the sport, Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez lit each other up at UFC 166. This fight was full of violence, blood, and the best thing was the heart both men displayed. It would turn into what both men could consider a last stand in their careers and stand they did. 

HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 19: (R-L) Gilbert Melendez punches Diego Sanchez in their UFC lightweight bout at the Toyota Center on October 19, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Apart from this being an amazing fight, this is my favorite on a more personal level. I was in college watching this at the time and my friends were all huddled into our small dorm room for this event. No one but me followed the sport and I sold everyone on watching because of the main event being Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos and this matchup. With it delivering, it hooked several of my friends and now we all enjoy MMA and combat sports together. Without this fight being what it was I am not sure I have that bond all these years later.

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