In my preview post on Ed Herman vs. Trevor Smith, I discussed Herman’s recent career and how he was overrated following a short winning streak, but probably underrated now after losing a couple fights. I feel exactly the same way about Melvin Guillard. Guillard has followed a five-fight winning streak with four losses in five fights, and now might be fighting with his job on the line.
While a fighter’s “stock” might bounce up and down rapidly based on whether he wins or loses, I feel his true abilities are more consistent than that. I never thought Guillard was ready for true title contention, but I also think he’s more than worthy of competing in the UFC. Guillard may be only a very slight favorite to beat Mac Danzig, but I think his chances of winning are much better than that.
It’s important to note that all four of Guillard’s losses were to quality opponents: Joe Lauzon, Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, and Jamie Varner. Miller, Cerrone, and Varner are all ranked in the top 14 in FPR in the UFC lightweight division, with Lauzon ranked #24. By contrast, Danzig is ranked #45, one spot below Fabricio Camoes and one spot above Thiago Tavares.
The reason for this low ranking isn’t that Danzig is bad at any one thing. He’s a competent striker, a decent wrestler, and he knows what he’s doing on the ground. Danzig is the kind of fighter who can punish an opponent who is deficient in any one area.
It might seem, then, that Danzig is well-equipped to punish Guillard’s lack of polish on the ground. It’s true that Guillard struggles badly when he’s put on his back, but he’s not an instant tap out either. He’s lost by submission twice in recent fights, against Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon, but Miller and Lauzon are both excellent ground fighters who would be a threat to submit a lot of fighters in the division.
Danzig doesn’t have the same ground skills that Miller and Lauzon bring to the table. As far as submissions go, he’s much closer to Varner. Varner has a 7:10 submission attempt ratio in 134 minutes, while Danzig has a 6:10 ratio in 127 minutes. Even though Varner was able to land numerous takedowns against Guillard, he wasn’t able to finish the fight with a submission hold. There is no guarantee that Danzig will be able to finish Guillard either.
The difference between Varner and Danzig is that Varner is much better at landing takedowns. Varner has landed 4.0 takedowns per 15 minutes at an accuracy rate of 55 percent. Danzig lands a much lower 1.4 takedowns per 15 minutes at an accuracy rate of 40 percent.
That means Danzig will likely have to stand and trade with Guillard for a length of time at some point in this fight, and that’s bad news for Danzig. Guillard remains one of the fastest and hardest hitters in the lightweight division. Against an opponent in Danzig who has never shown great striking defense, there’s a very high chance that Guillard wins by knockout.
I understand why the betting public sees this as a 50-50 type of fight, but I think they’re underrating Guillard here. I see “The Young Assassin” scoring a very important win in this fight.
Pick: Melvin Guillard by KO