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Evan Dunham not about to get into a slug fest with heavy-hitting Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight for the Troops 2

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Evan Dunham (11-1) will go to war with Melvin Guillard (26-8-2) this Saturday night (Jan. 22) in Fort Hood, Texas, for UFC Fight Night 23: "Fight for the Troops 2."

Dunham is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Sean Sherk, but even more controversial was his split decision win over Tyson Griffin. "3-D" tells Pro MMA Radio that he's surprised judge Tony Weeks gave the fight to Griffin.

"I was pretty shocked. I thought I definitely won all three rounds and controlled him, got the back and was able to maintain. I wasn't able to finish even though I was trying really hard, but I was pretty shocked that it was a split decision."

On Sept. 25, 2010, Dunham faced his toughest test in former UFC lightweight champion "The Muscle Shark" Sherk. In the first round, Sherk opened up a cut above the right eye of "3-D." Dunham says he had never experienced anything like that in a fight before.

"Definitely not to that extent. He got me good with that. That's by far the worst cut I actually ever had in a fight."

With his back against the wall, Dunham hung in there and fought two rounds that impressed critics and fans alike.

Some fighters fail to rise to the occasion when they see their own blood for the first time, but Dunham used it as motivation to make a comeback.

"I think it created a sense of urgency big time. My big thing is I'm really competitive and just seeing that amount of blood made me realize that ‘you're not winning this fight and you need to do something to change it. More than anything I think it kind of lit a fire under my ass and got me fighting."

Despite the split decision loss to Sherk, Dunham believes he didn't walk away from the fight empty handed.

"I learned a few things. The main thing is stick to my game plan, don't deviate from it and when you have a game plan that you're gonna utilize, you use it the entire fight, not just when you want to. I also learned that I can compete at a very high level with some of the top guys in the division and do very well."

The critics and fans weren't the only ones who were impressed with Dunham's performance. Sherk, Dunham's opponent, said the 29 year-old prospect would be a champion some day. "3-D" was thrilled with the compliment.

"I thought that was really cool and an honor to hear that from him because he's the guy I always held in high regard."

When Dunham meets "The Young Assassin" on Jan. 22, he will be fighting in front of thousands of troops in the Spike TV special "Fight for the Troops 2." He says it's an honor to compete for the men and women who serve the United States.

"It means a lot. They put their heart and soul into what they do to protect our country and they have a much harder job than any of us could really even fathom. To fight for them is a privilege and an honor and I really look forward to it to show my personal appreciation for them."

Dunham was scheduled to fight top 155-pound contender Kenny Florian, but when "Kenflo" was forced out due to an injury, Guillard stepped in. Dunham explains his initial reaction when he heard Florian was injured.

"At first I was disappointed, not because it was Melvin, but I wanted to fight Florian. As soon as I got over that, which was in about a second, I realized I was getting Melvin and Melvin is a very talented individual. He's on a good winning streak right now, he's been around for a long time so he's definitely not a guy to take lightly."

Guillard has had more than 30 professional mixed martial arts bouts. Dunham realizes the strengths of his opponent and what he can do to neutralize those strengths.

"I have to be careful of his hands. He's a heavy hitter, he's very athletic, he's fast so basically I just need to be cautious and not get into a slugfest. I just have to use my overall game as a whole to get out there and just beat him in a fight."

Will the overall game of "3-D" be enough to knock off "The Young Assassin?" Tune in to UFC Fight Night 23 live from Fort Hood, Texas on Jan. 22 free on Spike TV to find out.

For more on Dunham, check out the replay of MMAmania.com's exclusive presentation of Pro MMA Radio by clicking here.

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