Melvin Guillard file photo | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The right hand that Melvin Guillard used to fold up Evan Dunham in the main event of UFC “Fight for the Troops 2” was no accident.
In fact, the shot was planned and executed precisely, says Guillard’s striking coach Mike Winkeljohn.
“Melvin and I constantly worked on coming from the outside and getting that slight angle on him, and hitting him with that right hand,” Winkeljohn told Sherdog.com on Saturday night. “Melvin has always had that [speed]. That’s his God-given ability. That was the plan, to knock the guy out, and we’re real happy.”
Guillard defied the bookmakers on Saturday night, earning a first-round knockout over the favored Dunham with laser-like hand speed. Mere seconds into the contest, Guillard staggered his opponent with a straight right hand that would spell the beginning of the end for Dunham. Though the native Oregonian attempted valiantly to close the distance and use his potent jiu-jitsu game, Guillard fended off the takedown attempts before unleashing another perfect right hand that floored Dunham. Guillard followed up with a hard combination and finished the fight with knees from the Thai plum.
“[Guillard] was just like a video game tonight. He basically did everything he was told,” said Winkeljohn. “He’s actually a very intelligent fighter, and he’s coming into his own instead of letting his emotions take hold.”
Winkeljohn agreed when asked if Guillard’s recent string of success, including three-straight victories, could be attributed to the scientific approach and mental preparation for which Winkeljohn and partner Greg Jackson are famous.
“I think so. We’re fine tuning those gifts that he has so that he can be in the right place in the right time. But definitely, mentally, [it’s about] not bailing on [the game plan] if he gets in the wrong position,” said Winkeljohn.
Though Winkeljohn asserted that the technique would not be named after “The Young Assassin,” as Guillard joked it would in the cage following his win, the vaunted striking coach claims that the process behind the technique comes down to more than simply throwing the punch.
“Melvin has the confidence now that, if he gets in a bad spot, he can get back up. And now he’s letting his hands go,” said Winkeljohn. “It’s a combination of being in the right place at the right time and understanding [your opponent’s] footwork. Melvin picked up on it right away. We've been talking about it. We’ve seen it on tape. So he knew that when Evan stepped a certain direction, that it was time to let [his hands] go.”
As for what comes next, Winkeljohn agrees with Guillard’s assessment that the 27-year-old has gold in his future.
“I’m good with Melvin fighting anybody right now. His confidence is at an all-time high. There are some great fighters in the division, but I think that Melvin can be in there with anybody. I think he’s ready for a title shot.”