Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon
Melvin Guillard (29-8-2) vs. Joe Lauzon (20-6)
In a lightweight matchup, Guillard looks to establish his No. 1 contender status when he collides with “The Ultimate Fighter 5” veteran Lauzon.
Guillard, 28, has reinvented himself under trainer Greg Jackson. Since his submission loss against Nate Diaz in September 2009, Guillard has racked up five straight wins, including recent stoppages of Shane Roller and Evan Dunham.
A heavy-hitting powerhouse in the lightweight division, Guillard is one or two wins away from securing a shot at the title.
Guillard is a judo brown belt with explosive strikes and throws, but the submission game remains his weakest area, something Lauzon will look to expose.
Lauzon, 27, has earned fight night bonuses in his last five outings, including “Submission of the Night” honors in his wins over Curt Warburton, Gabe Ruediger and Jeremy Stephens.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt has struggled with superior strikers, including Sam Stout and Kenny Florian, so he will live and die by the takedown.
If Lauzon can secure a dominant position on the mat, he possesses the submission prowess to lock something in. But Guillard has been on a wrecking spree, and his takedown defense has also improved.
Guillard will come out guns blazing, looking for his third straight knockout win. Unless Lauzon can pull off a miraculous submission, he will likely be the next victim to fall to Guillard’s fists of fury.
Verdict: Guillard via KO, Round 1