In what may be his last stop before total irrelevance, there is not much new to say about the game of Lightweight Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (32-14-2, 2 NC) that has not already been said. He is making his Bellator debut in the Main Event this weekend at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Ca., and he is the same fighter that fought for WSOF. In fact, he’s still the same fighter who fought for the UFC for a number of years. Time and time again, he has displayed brutal and fight-finishing power in his hands, tallying twenty-one career knockouts, but not much technique or gamesmanship to back it up, along with repeated and well-documented struggles making weight. When he is forced to fight multi-dimensionally, he is all but lost. If Guillard hits you, you’ll be seeing tweety birds, but against the top guys, he has not produced with any form of consistency. Over his last ten fights, he is just 3-6 with one no-contest, a stretch which started with a first-round submission loss to Joe Lauzon in the Fall of ’11. Perhaps the level of competition he will face in his new promotion is just what the doctor ordered for him to get back on track.
A winner in three of his last four outings, submission ace Brandon “Cold Roll” Girtz (12-4-0) will look to spoilGuillard’s arrival, and unfortunately for “The Young Assassin”, he might just have the skillset and abilities to do so. While he won his last fight by TKO (his lone victory by strikes), with eight of his twelve career wins coming by tapout to a nice assortment of jiu-jitsu techniques, his modus operandi is evident. His chances of survival here increase dramatically if he imposes his will and typical gameplan on the ground-vulnerable Guillard. A win on Friday would likely be life-changing for Girtz, though I’m not sure he gets it.
I think Guillard’s experience and physical talent edge will rule the day. If Girtz can get him to the mat, it will probably mean curtains for “The Young Assassin”. However, since it is only a three-rounder and Melvin will look to shine in hisBellator debut, I predict Guillard UD Girtz.
In the Co-Main Event of the evening, one half of the famed “Pitbull” Bros., Lightweight fighter Patricky Freire (13-6-0), older brother to Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio Freire, takes on the ever-dangerous Saad “Assassin” Awad (18-6-0). The “other” “Pitbull” is coming into the cage off a loss in his last appearance, and he has been out of action for almost a year. Although he lost a Unanimous Decision last September, he has won in three of his last four fights, two of those in highlight reel fashion. Like his younger brother, Patricky has some heavy hands and serious fight-ending power, made evident by nine T/KO finishes out of his thirteen career wins. Awad is a talented mixed martial artist, and he has skills all over the cage. He is a very well-rounded fighter, with fourteen of his eighteen career wins by stoppage (7 T/KOs, 7 subs), and he comes in on a three-fight win streak. Despite his talent and the relatively high level of competition he’s faced (including splitting two fights with current LW Champ Will Brooks), I’m not sure that Awad has faced the kind of striking power that the older “Pitbull” brother carries with him, and I thinkFreire makes him pay for that early. I predict Patricky “Pitbull” R1 TKO Awad.
After a five-plus year layoff whilst abroad doing work for charity, Heavyweight Justin Wren (10-2-0) returns to action, making his Bellator debut against the well-traveled veteran Josh “The Hammer” Burns (8-8-0). Winless in his first stint with the promotion, “The Hammer” is looking for his first for the first win of his second run with Bellator, the high point of which was losing to Bobby Lashley via submission. against elite competitors he has not fared well. However, I’m not sure how elite his opponent will be, considering the circumstances. Wren displays some talent inthe tape that can be found of his past fights, and he can finish fights standing or on the ground. He left fighting on a three-fight win streak, though I’m not sure that still applies to anything here. Regardless of the unusually long layoff for Wren, “The Hammer” has seemed more like an anvil for the most part, so I predict Wren UD Burns.
In more Heavyweight action, Lorenzo “The Dream Killer” Hood (9-2-0) squares off with Raphael “The Silencer” Butler (9-1-1) in a titanic clash of massive men that all but guarantees to be short and to the point. The eighteen wins these two have accumulated have all been by stoppage. The debuting Hood’s nine wins are all T/KOs, and equally as impressive is Bellator stalwart Butler’s six T/KOs and three submissions. The beautiful violence that this fight teases will be must-see TV. I predict Hood R2 TKO Butler, though whoever wins, I think we all will.
By: Evan Alworth