Melvin Guillard has secured 20 of his 31 wins by knockout or technical knockout. | Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
LightweightsMelvin Guillard (31-12-2, 12-8 UFC) vs. Ross Pearson (15-6, 7-3 UFC)
The Matchup: Turmoil continues to reign supreme in the career of Guillard. After halting a two-fight skid with a second-round knockout of Mac Danzig at UFC on Fox 8, the Louisianan has changed training camps yet again, this time relocating from the Colorado-based Grudge Training Center to Florida’s American Top Team.
It is Guillard’s fourth such move in the past two years -- he already left Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts and the Blackzilians -- and one has to wonder how so much upheaval will affect his performance. With that said, “The Young Assassin” came through with a vintage performance against Danzig, showcasing the breathtaking hand speed and power that make him such a promising talent. Guillard tends to run hot and cold, however, and it is never shocking when he suffers a lapse on fight night.
Pearson returned to 155 pounds in December, knocking out George Sotiropoulos in the third round at UFC on FX 6. The Englishman continued his momentum in April with a second-round stoppage of Ryan Couture at UFC on Fuel TV 9. The clear difference between Sotiropoulos, Couture and Guillard is explosive athleticism. In terms of pure physical gifts, “The Ultimate Fighter 2” alum more closely resembles Pearson foes such as Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza, both of whom were able to consistently beat “The Real Deal” to the punch.
While Pearson’s boxing and footwork are solid, it is unlikely that he will be able to pick apart Guillard with power-punching combinations. Guillard’s hands are simply too quick, and if he is allowed to establish a rhythm, Pearson will spend the fight on his heels. The Alliance MMA representative is accustomed to being the aggressor, but he will have to survive some precarious moments if he is to get the better of the standup exchanges.
The good news for Pearson is that Guillard seems to get stunned at the most unusual moments. For example, no one expected a short left hand from Joe Lauzon to be the punch that essentially led to the end of his five-fight winning streak in October 2011. A more varied approach would benefit Pearson here. Jamie Varner mixed in takedowns with power punches to best Guillard in December, but Pearson does not have the type of wrestling to follow that blueprint. That makes for what should be an entertaining standup affair, but it could ultimately be to Pearson’s detriment.
The Pick: Pearson is known to struggle with quicker, more athletic opposition. Guillard wins by KO or TKO in round one or two.
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