The battle for Lightweight relevance is on this afternoon (Sat., Oct. 26, 2013) in Manchester, England, when two Lightweight veterans who have seen their fair share of success, as well as failure, Melvin Guillard and Ross Pearson, meet in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 30, which takes place at Phones 4U Arena.
Both of these mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters are incredibly fast, and barring Pearson's performances at Featherweight, they have both shown to use this agility to their advantage. With dangerous striking games, these men will press one another constantly, tucking their chins and going to work.
Guillard has been around a long time and his game is pretty well-known at this point, relying heavily on his powerful striking. Aside from random streaks of stupefying brilliance in other areas such as his near submission of Jamie Varner at the end of their fight with a scissor choke/armbar combination, or his occasional perfectly executed judo throws, Guillard is basically just an intimidatingly athletic striker with crazy power. He cuts angles in split seconds, and when he is poised and on his game, his striking is perhaps the most effective in the division.
The main threat with Guillard is his speed. Even with a fairly predictable approach, his agility and power make for a threatening combination. And the fact that he can move so quickly makes his attacks very difficult to time. His knees are especially effective tools in tight, and his power punches are enough to test the chin of any man standing across from him.
Pearson's game is a bit more of the norm for a striker, his attack fairly limited to boxing with the occasional kick mixed in. His focus is on boxing at very close range, backing up opponents and landing punches in volume. He is good in tight, but at far range he is prone to over extending and leaving himself open at times, something he will want to keep in check for this fight.
Pearson is especially good at setting the pace of his fights. With the exception of his fight with Cub Swanson, Pearson has proven that he is very good at taking over striking battles, giving his opponents little time to collect themselves as his pressure continues to smother them. I found this especially impressive in his fight with Edson Barboza, and although he lost a very close decision, he proved in my eyes that he has the tenacity to make a good striker fight an ugly fight that suits him.
This 155-pound match will come down to who initiates the pressure. If Guillard comes forward early, and he does so in a composed manner, I think it'd only be a matter of time until Pearson makes a mistake and leaves himself open. The more likely scenario is that Pearson sets the pace early, keeping Guillard tracking back. From there, the fight will go to who can win exchanges in tight, be it Guillard with his knees and quick footwork to circle out, or "Real Deal" with his high volume pressure striking.
In the end, I just don't see how this fight doesn't make some kind of awesome spectacle. Whether it's a highlight-reel knockout for either man or a back-and-forth battle, I can not see this fight being boring. Guillard's agile and damaging striking style against Pearson's in-your-face pressure fighting will make for many high-octane exchanges that will leave fans wishing they could see more fights like this.
Expect Ross Pearson vs. Melvin Guillard to push one another to the limit, and to put on a "Fight of the Night"-worthy showdown for the Manchester audience.