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Reaction from the Action: UFC on FX 1 “Guillard vs. Miller”

They say you can’t teach a dog new tricks. Apparently the same applies for assassins.

After losing by submission for the second straight fight, and sixth time overall in the UFC, Melvin Guillard seems stuck. Following a five fight win streak, Guillard has now lost his last two fights by rear-naked choke. While both losses are to top contenders in Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller, respectively, Guillard has a long road in front of him to return to title contention.

Guillard stated after the fight against Miller on Friday that he and Miller are the two best guys in the lightweight division. While it does seem farfetched, he is not that far off when declaring himself and Miller as the two most dangerous lightweights. With Guillard’s striking and speed, along with Miller’s jiu jitsu, the pair brings a tough matchup to any opponent put inside the cage with them.

But unlike Miller, Guillard has not closed the holes in his game. Miller will likely not be mistaken for a top notch striker any time soon, yet he has developed a formidable striking game in his own right, defeating strong strikers such as Duane Ludwig, Kamal Shalorus, and Guillard with a mix of striking and a very b strong ground game.

Having a premier talent in this sport, specifically with the talent that is displayed on a weekly basis, success rarely can be sustained for an extended period. Guillard seems to have run into that specific problem, having lost in similar fashion in every one of his losses.

Since 2007, in every one of his wins, Guillard has either defeated the opponent via first round TKO or decision. That seems to show that he is either successful in blitzing the opponent from the beginning, or he is able to lay back and rely on precise strikes to outpoint his way to a victory. But those same early blitzes have had a counter effect on him all the same, which has been evident in his last two fights, both early submission losses.

Can he develop enough to neutralize the strong jiu jitsu in the lightweight division? Absolutely, as was on display with Pat Barry fighting off a few submission attempts from Christian Morecraft earlier at the event.

The question remains whether training full-time at the “Blackzillians” camp in Florida is the correct move. The camp is known as a full-contact training camp, which Guillard likely relishes, but might not allow him to fully mature as a mixed martial artist.

Biggest winner: Jim Miller
Welcome back, Jim. While he did not really go anywhere, Miller has entrenched himself back to the top of the contenders list with the win over Guillard. Had he not fought with mononucleosis and a kidney infection against Benson Henderson in August, he could have very well been the one fighting Frankie Edgar next month in Japan. It is to be seen whether Miller is the one that fights the winner of that championship bout.

Biggest loser: Kamal Shalorus
After starting his career undefeated in his first nine fights, Shalorus has now lost his last two fights. While he has an intimidating style with his strong looping punches, Shalorus is a renowned wrestler who has seemingly abandoned his strength. In order to maintain a spot in the organization, chances are the Prince of Persia will have to return to what brought him to America in the first place.

Biggest question: How will UFC on FX cards be received?
It seems the formula for the network cable cards on FX and Fuel TV has been discovered, as Friday’s card shared a similar resemblance to recent Spike cards along with the upcoming Fuel TV card in March. The formula looks to be to host a strong main event between two promising title contenders, mix in a few entertaining lower-tier guys from a few divisions, and then host a slew of prospects on the preliminary card.

The question with that formula is determining if the adage of ‘any card being free is a good card’ is enough.

Future matchups:

Jim Miller vs. Nate Diaz: I will admit that I made a mistake in pitting the winner of the upcoming Anthony Pettis/Joe Lauzon fight with Diaz following his win at UFC 141. Miller vs. Diaz sets up a better match for the top contender in the lightweight division than Pettis/Lauzon does, in my opinion. Win streaks should not be seen as critical as the magnitude of those wins. Between the arguably top four contenders, Lauzon and Diaz share the longest win streak of them all-two.

Melvin Guillard vs. Rafael dos Anjos: Guillard and dos Anjos are two immensely talented fighters at 155 pounds, but they have both run into issues over the last year. A win here would put the victor on the right track.

Josh Neer vs. Charlie Brenneman: Neer pulled off a great submission after being pummeled by Duane Ludwig early throughout the first round. This pair will likely not have the crowd chanting for more striking during their fight, but it would certainly be a solid showing on the ground.

Pat Barry vs. Shane del Rosario: While the above pair would not overly excite the crowd with their striking, this matchup most certainly would. The kickboxing of Barry vs. the muay thai of del Rosario would certainly be one of the more intriguing striking matches the UFC can make in the heavyweight division.

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