UFC 119 Preview: Melvin Guillard Vs. Jeremy Stephens

Everyone has spent so much time spouting about how explosive this fight is going to be that one would think Michael Bay got producer credits. Yea, these two guys can KO almost anyone in the lightweight division with a single punch, but I'm much more interested in seeing some progress in their overall games. I don't think either one of these fighters is going to be advised to stand right in front of the other, so grappling into transitions, be it in the clinch or wrestling, should play a pretty big role in this fight. I know everyone is expecting them to just stand there throwing punches until someone goes down, but it wouldn't be smart. *(Greg Jackson is smart.)

Since joining Greg Jackson's camp nearly eight months ago, Guillard has shown a vast improvement from his one dimensional beginnings with the UFC and showcased on the second season of 'The Ultimate Fighter.' Melvin is no longer a straight striker, he never really was. He's always had wrestling in his back pocket, but coupled with a reinvigorated ground game I think Guillard is going to be a handful as long as he focuses on developing his points of weakness. Having eight losses by way of submission is no joke, so moving to Jackson's was pretty a must.

Stephens, albeit a more well rounded fighter, is just less talented than Guillard. He doesn't have the speed in the standup to hang with Melvin, so I don't expect him to try. If I'm Jeremy, I wanna close that distance as quick as I can to try to avoid that over-hand right. Guillard absolutely destroyed Dennis Siver a few years back in a 36 second beat down, so I'd wager Stephens taking his chances with the ground game. If he can avoid whatever shiny new toy Guillard has been working on off his back, I think he takes this one. If not, he's going to get knocked out or guillotined.

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