LAS VEGAS – Melvin Guillard is perhaps the most confounding fighter in mixed martial arts. He's a powerful striker, he's got a great chin (his KO loss to Donald Cerrone at UFC 150 notwithstanding) and he's as dynamic athletically as anyone in the sport.

It's confounding, though, to see a guy win five in a row and inching ever so close to a title shot to all of a sudden lose three out of four and be stopped in the first round in all of those.

But if you're a fight fan, here's a piece of advice: Don't try to figure out Melvin Guillard. Just enjoy him.

Guillard is perhaps Exhibit A in the Dana White model of favoring performance over results. The UFC president has repeatedly said he prefers fighters who, you know, actually fight rather than those who play it safe and try to score a points win.

The lightweight contender, who meets Jamie Varner on Saturday at the Hard Rock in what he vows will be the best match of "The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale," may occasionally shock but will never bore.

[Also: Ratings wins in key demographics at UFC on Fox 5 thrills Dana White]

Whether he's on the winning end or the losing end, jaws usually drop during a Guillard fight.

"I don't go out there to play around," Guillard said. "I go out there to fight."

He's been repeatedly accused of recklessness and of not being able to maintain his emotions in order to win when it matters most. He had won five in a row heading into UFC 136 in Houston last year, where he was favored to beat Joe Lauzon.

Lauzon, though, beat Guillard in less than a minute, hitting him with a counter left and then submitting him.

That loss, coupled with subsequent defeats to Jim Miller and Cerrone have left him far from the title picture.

Perhaps, though, it's not fair to Guillard to judge him in a traditional manner. And despite 44 fights, Guillard is still only 29 and still growing as a fighter.

He doesn't want to be distracted at this point from doing what is important to him – putting on a show that will bring the fans out of their seats – so he brushes aside any and all talk about the title.

He doesn't, he says, have a plan on how to get back into contention. He's not concerned about anything beyond an electrifying battle with Varner.

"You know, this fight should be the main event," he said. "It's the real main event in my opinion. We are going to go at it, believe me."

Varner, a former World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion who rejuvenated his career with an upset win over Edson Barboza at UFC 146 in May, similarly expects fireworks.

Guillard has been finished 10 times – nine by submission and once by knockout, by Cerrone at UFC 150 – while Varner has never been knocked out.

[Also: Benson Henderson and the case of the missing toothpick]

He told The MMA Corner there are plenty of similarities between Guillard and himself.

"I would say I'm a little bit more durable than Melvin," Varner said. "I've never been dropped. I've never been knocked out. Not to say that it can't happen, [because] Melvin is one of those guys that's been known to knock people out that have never been knocked out. He's hurt people that have never been hurt before. I'm a little bit more battle-tested.

"I can go into the later rounds and still fight. Even if I'm tired, I have that mental toughness that I can still grind it out. We have some of the same abilities. We both have raw power in our hands and our feet. But my wrestling and grappling is better."

There is plenty of time for Guillard to improve on those aspects of his game. He turns 30 in March, so he still has several years of what should be his prime left.

He may still harness that potential and become the smart, consistent and entertaining fighter everyone expects him to be. He may yet become a regular winner and move up the ladder of the world's best lightweights toward a title shot.

If it doesn't happen, though, not too many people are complaining about the current version of Guillard. Win or lose, he'll put on a show every time.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Pat Forde: Dashing through the college football bowl season
Josh Brent's blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit after fatal crash
Big East's 'Catholic 7' angered by football focus contemplate disbanding league
Y! Movies: 'Lincoln' dominates Golden Globe nominations

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Cast revealed for Season 23 of 'The Ultimate Fighter' with coaches Jedrzejczyk, Gadelha

  • 29 days ago
  • 8 views

Season 23 “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC’s long-running reality competition, debuts in two weeks on FOX Sports 1, and today the cast was revealed. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Twitter Mailbag: After all Jon Jones' troubles, why haven't fans flocked to Daniel Cormier's side?

  • 28 days ago
  • 9 views

In this week’s Twitter Mailbag, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier continue to roll around in the mud together, most recently on social media. So why is it that Cormier is the one who always emerges lookin read news >>

Why champ Miesha Tate is fighting Amanda Nunes, and not Holly Holm, at UFC 200

  • 28 days ago
  • 43 views

Many UFC fans expected women’s bantamweight champ Miesha Tate to face rival and former champion Ronda Rousey at July’s banner UFC 200. The UFC certainly teased the prospect.Filed under: Featured, New read news >>

Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber finding new ways to annoy each other all these years later (Yahoo Sports)

  • 28 days ago
  • 20 views

From Yahoo Sports: Cruz and Faber aren't pulling any punches ahead of their long-awaited trilogy fight. read news >>

Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber finding new ways to annoy each other all these years later (Yahoo Sports)

  • 28 days ago
  • 16 views

From Yahoo Sports: Cruz and Faber aren't pulling any punches ahead of their long-awaited trilogy fight. read news >>

Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes: Why Is It Happening, and What Should Fans Think?

  • 28 days ago
  • 60 views

The women's bantamweight title picture has become a steady source of surprises over the last 12 months, and Wednesday was no different. The UFC threw fans yet another curveball with the announcement read news >>

UFC Fight Night 86 draws announced 13,177 fans for $549,000 live gate in Croatia

  • 25 days ago
  • 1 views

ZAGREB, Croatia – Today’s UFC Fight Night 86 event drew an announced attendance of 13,177 for a live gate of $549,000 US.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

'Soccer Mom Killer' Kristi Lopez to Compete in the UFC's Next Season of 'TUF'

  • 24 days ago
  • 55 views

Few MMA fans know the name Katie Castro, but most know her work. A fighter for the Xplode Fight Series promotion, Castro became an overnight star last year when a tape of her getting knocked out went read news >>

Hall of Famers Liddell, Griffin to coach on The Ultimate Fighter Latin America season 3

  • 25 days ago
  • 0 views

For the first time in UFC history, the The Ultimate Fighter series will feature two UFC legends and Hall of Famers, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, as coaches in the first season to be filmed and read news >>

Fans invited to Thursday's workouts, Friday's weigh-ins for UFC on FOX 19

  • 24 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC on FOX 19 takes place this weekend, and prior to the event, fans have a few opportunities to get up and close with the fighters.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>