It was a battle of two previous top title contenders trying to get back on track from upset losses last night (Jan. 20, 2012) as lightweights Jim Miller and Melvin Guillard waged war in the main event of UFC on FX in Nashville, Tennessee.
In typical Melvin Guillard fashion, the Louisiana native started strong with his strikes, hurting Miller for perhaps the first time in his career.
"The Young Assassin" had his opponent seeing stars, but then made a huge mistake, which resulted in him being forced to tap out or go to sleep.
So what cost him his opportunity to get back into contention? And where do both men go from here? We dive in after the jump:
Guillard bounced around on his toes early, surprising Miller with two flying knees in the first 30 seconds. With his opponent's attention directed elsewhere, "The Young Assassin" blasted Miller with a big left hand, dropping him for the first time in his career.
Miller reacted well, however, closing the distance trying to clinch and take the fight to the ground as the cobwebs cleared, but he ate a significant amount of punishment in the process as Guillard threw a pair of short knees in the clinch to force him to back away.
Miller continued to press forward, eating a big right hand and having his takedown attempts stuffed again, but Guillard attempted a third big flying knee, and this time, the AMA Fight Club member was ready for it, absorbing the blow and using Guillard's lack of balance to shoot in and take him down.
Once on the canvas, it was entirely Jim Miller's world. Within 20 seconds he had passed to mount and the "Blackzilian" team member tried to explode out of danger but Miller saw an opening and took Guillard's back in the scramble even though they were standing.
Guillard lost his balance and fell to his back as Miller locked in a body triangle and then attacked the neck. "The Young Assasin" proved that submissions are still his kryptonite as Miller finally snuck his arm under his neck, choking him out in a tremendous comeback performance.
For Melvin Guillard, his lack of submission defense has once again been his downfall. He looked so good early, hurting Miller badly with his strikes. He also was doing a commendable job in keeping the fight standing, so why in the hell did he keep throwing that flying knee? Jim Miller is probably the hardest man to knock out in the entire lightweight division. Guillard was simply risking way too much in throwing that strike when he actually did his most damage with his punches. If he was going to throw a knee, do it in the clinch where he still had his balance. He practically handed this fight to Miller on a silver platter with some poor decision-making.
Hopefully, his time with some of the high level jiu-jitsu fighters in the Imperial Athletics gym will help him shore up his submission defense because he'll never be a legitimate title contender at this point if he continues to get choked out by every top level lightweight he faces. For future fights, I'd expect to see Guillard take on someone like Sam Stout, Rafael dos Anjos or perhaps Terry Etim in hopes to get back on track.
For Jim Miller, he proved once again that he just may be the toughest son of a bitch in the lightweight division. The man responds incredibly well to adversity and has tremendous heart. His reflexes are terrific and he has won over a large amount of fans with his killer instinct once he sees any weakness whatsoever. He promised to choke Guillard out if given the opportunity and he did exactly that. Jim Miller is a man of his word.
With the victory, Miller is right back in the title hunt, especially because at the moment, no one is really on a big winning streak in the lightweight division. Depending how high up in the rankings the UFC feels he is, I'd expect to see him square off with Nate Diaz next, perhaps the winner of Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis or, depending on if they feel he's ready, a bout with rising prospect Edson Barboza. Either way, Jim MIller is right back in contention for the belt and he wouldn't have it any other way.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was the outcome of this fight ever in doubt for you? Do you think Melvin Guillard will ever shore up his submission defense liabilities?