Photo via UFC.com
It's hard to deny that Melvin Guillard has been blessed with some tremendous talents, including his dynamite hands and solid wrestling, and although his so-called "anti-jiu jitsu" has been streadily improving, his mid-fight mental lapses and poor gameplans have cost him many a fight. It is therefore fitting that he would seek help from the Yoda of gameplans: Greg Jackson. As revealed in an interview on UFC.com, Guillard has been training with Jackson, and more specifically, former opponent Joe Stevenson in preparation for his UFC 109 bout with BJJ ace Ronnys Torres:
"I’ve been talking with Coach Greg for a while about coming up," said Guillard. "Me and Joe Stevenson have been hanging out a lot and he just kept telling me that it’s a great camp to come to. I knew it would be the best place in the world for me because his training speaks for itself, so I ended up coming here and they made me a part of the team."
"Joe’s always been a good friend of mine, even when we were on the show," said Guillard, who was submitted by Stevenson in 2007. "Yeah, we had to fight each other, but it’s just business and we never took anything personal. Joe is teaching me a lot right now, especially the guillotine defense. That’s what my biggest downfall is, and Joe’s definitely the right man for the job and he’s helped me a lot."
"I didn’t gameplan it like Coach Greg teaches it," said Guillard. "My gameplan was more like ‘okay, this guy is a jiu-jitsu guy, so I just want to stay on my feet and keep him out there.’ But with Coach Greg, he teaches you a gameplan even if you go into their element. That’s what I didn’t learn in other places. They’re teaching me ways of not only weathering the storm, but of creating problems for guys in their own element."
With Jackson working on his gameplans and Joe Daddy improving his submission defense, the still young Guillard has plenty of room to evolve into a truly scary fighter if he sticks with the training regimen. We'll see if it all falls into place against the Nova Uniao-trained Torres at 109, but Guillard's confidence is high, as he suggests in his prediction for the fight:
"As long as I keep learning and my confidence keeps growing, I’m gonna continue to fight whoever they put in front of me. It doesn’t matter if its jiu-jitsu guys or standup guys, the good thing about jiu-jitsu guys is that it gives me a chance to get a knockout of the night bonus. That’s kinda how I’m coming into this next fight. I’m gonna be very explosive and I’m just gonna unload everything I’ve got on this guy."