Melvin Guillard (file photo) has won five straight. | Photo: Sherdog.com
The surging Melvin Guillard recorded his fifth consecutive win, as he blitzed three-time collegiate All-American wrestler Shane Roller with speed and power in a preliminary lightweight bout at UFC 132 “Cruz vs. Faber 2” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Guillard finished it 2:12 into the first round.
“I’ve been training hard. I feel great,” Guillard said. “I feel a lot of emotions right now. My whole life, I’ve battled so much, and now I’m coming back to the top of my game. My life is in order, and this is a great feeling. I know I’m making my dad proud right now.”
Guillard (29-8-2, 1 NC, 10-4 UFC) cracked Roller with a beautiful, short counter left hook, caught him with a knee from the clinch as he returned to his feet and dropped him again with a straight left. He then showered Roller (10-4, 1-1 UFC) with hammerfists for the finish. At 28, Guillard, a Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative, has become a definite factor in the lightweight division.
“I just keep knocking them out as they line them up,” he said. “I don’t know how close I am [to a title shot].”
Dos Anjos Counter KOs Sotiropoulos
Rafael dos Anjos needed less than a minute to dispatch fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt George Sotiropoulos, as he uncorked a blistering counter right hook that left the dazed Aussie flat on his back in the center of the cage. Referee Yves Lavigne quickly moved in to protect Sotiropoulos (14-4, 7-2 UFC) from further damage. The end to the preliminary lightweight tilt came 59 seconds into round one.
The knockout blow found its mark during a brief exchange between the two 155-pounders. Dos Anjos’ fist met Sotiropoulos’ chin and sent “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 semifinalist to the ground, his head bouncing off the canvas. Dos Anjos (15-5, 4-3 UFC), who had not fought in nearly a year, has won four of his past five bouts.
Bowles Takes Decision, Appears to Re-Injure Hand
Former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles took a unanimous decision from Takeya Mizugaki in a preliminary matchup at 135 pounds, despite appearing to suffer another hand injury. All three cageside judges scored it for the oft-injured Bowles: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. The 31-year-old remains undefeated in the UFC.
Mizugaki (14-6-2, 1-1 UFC) countered effectively throughout the first round but lost his way in the second. Bowles trapped a low kick, cracked him with a straight right hand, put him on the ground and pounced, moving quickly to the back. From there, he latched a body triangle and worked for a rear-naked choke until the end of the period.
Bowles (10-1, 2-0 UFC) all but abandoned his right hand in round three and looked to be in considerable discomfort. Still, he fought through the pain, secured a takedown and again moved to Mizugaki’s back, this time from a standing position. He closed the stronger of the two, the wounded limb notwithstanding.
Simpson Hands Tavares First Loss
Aaron Simpson did what he does best, as he controlled the clinch, scored with takedowns, landed on occasion with his powerful right hand and picked up a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Brad Tavares.
Simpson swept the scorecards -- 30-27 from all three judges -- in the preliminary middleweight duel.
Simpson (10-2, 5-2 UFC) did much of his work in the clinch, as he neutralized the talented but raw Hawaiian in tight quarters. His approach may not have been pleasing to the eye, but it was effective.
Simpson secured multiple takedowns in the third round, and though he failed to keep Tavares (7-1, 2-1 UFC) on his back, he zapped his energy and racked up points.
Njokuani Outclasses Winner in Decision
WEC alum Anthony Njokuani outclassed Team Rough House representative Andre Winner en route to a one-sided unanimous decision in an undercard bout at 155 pounds. Scores were 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27 -- all for Njokuani. The Nigerian-born muay Thai stylist entered the cage with losses in three of his last four appearances.
It became clear in the first round that Winner was outgunned on the feet. Njokuani (14-5, 1 NC, 1-1 UFC) landed a series of low kicks, beautiful counter uppercuts and various other strikes to the head and body. He had Winner on rubbery legs late in the period, as he unleashed a hellacious flurry on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 finalist. Somehow, Winner (11-6-1, 2-4 UFC) survived to see round two.
An overhand right and knees to the body and head, along with kicks to the inside and outside of Winner’s leg, kept momentum in Njokuani’s corner in the second and third rounds. Winner has suffered three consecutive defeats, likely putting his roster spot in the UFC in jeopardy.
Hougland Outpoints Walker in Octagon Debut
Rumble on the Ridge champion Jeff Hougland made a successful promotional debut, as he defeated Donny Walker by unanimous decision in a preliminary bantamweight matchup. All three cageside judges scored it for Hougland: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. The 32-year-old Chicago native has won nine consecutive fights, none more significant than this one.
Hougland (10-4, 1-0 UFC), a WEC veteran, was the aggressor from the outset, as he delivered a first-round takedown and threatened Walker with a guillotine choke. In the second, he picked up the pace on his feet, as he landed a spinning-back fist, popped Walker with repeated jabs and opened a cut above his opponent’s right eye. Late in the period, he cinched another guillotine and nearly finished it. Only the horn broke his grip.
To his credit, Walker (15-7, 0-1 UFC) tried to make a move in round three, fighting effectively in the clinch and sprawling successfully on attempted takedowns. However, he could not dig himself out of the early hole. It was Walker’s first defeat in nearly three years.
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