John Heinis: Two of the most recognizable faces at 155 pounds will battle it out in the main event to determine who still remains at the top of the division.
Both fighters are coming off of losses that knocked them out of the immediate title picture.
Guillard took submission specialist Joe Lauzon lightly before getting caught with a straight right and rear naked choke at UFC 136.
Meanwhile, at UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle, Jim Miller's risky, submission heavy attack left him wide open for Ben Henderson's vicious ground and pound, and "Smooth" was able to cruise to a dominant unanimous decision win.
Prior to those fights, Miller and Guillard were riding impressive seven and five-fight win streaks, respectively.
Miller is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who comes from a wrestling background, so while his attack will always be submission heavy, he has good enough stand up to hang with a lof of guys in the UFC's lightweight division.
On the other hand, "The Young Assassin" is a pretty decent wrestler in his own right, but Guillard chooses to stuff takedowns and batter his opponents with his fists instead of using a takedown heavy approach.
Guillard's punching power is second to none at lightweight, so Miller would be remiss to willingly keep this fight standing for an extended period.
However, also bear in mind that Miller has never been stopped in his three career losses, so the Greg Jackson turned Blackzilian slugger will have his work cut out for him.
Given that Guillard has long struggled against fighters with a solid submission acumen, I think we'll see an entertaining war that ends late in the fight when "The Young Assassin" runs out of gas.
Jim Miller via Round 3 submission (triangle choke)
Dwight Wakabayashi: This is a very exciting and important matchup for the lightweight landscape in 2012, as both these men are right at the front of the line in terms of earning a shot at the title in the very near future.
However, a loss for either of these men would be the second in a row, and knock them right back down the ladder. One fighter will have to climb a tough climb to get back to this spot.
Guillard is coming off his surprisingly quick loss to Joe Lauzon, and needs to come in with a much calmer, even mindset than he did in that fight.
Guillard was way too jacked up before that fight, and it cost him dearly, as Lauzon knocked his star down considerably with the easy win.
Guillard is as quick and explosive as they come in the 155 pound division, but against a tough veteran like Miller he can't expect to get an easy knockout.
Miller is also coming off a loss to Benson Henderson, where he was outpointed and outclassed by a slightly better fighter that night.
Miller brings a relentless, in-your-face, pressure style that can tire you and break your will to win. He is going to want to get in Guillard's face early and let him know that he is not going anywhere easily. He'll want to work his clinch, takedown and all-around wrestling game.
Miller's attack will either break Guillard's will and open him up for the finish, or it will lead to a "grind it out" decision victory. Either way, I see it being a long night for Guillard.
Miller wins via unanimous decision
Dale De Souza:
In a perfect world, Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller would be fighting for a spot in a title eliminator opposite the winner of Anthony Pettis’ UFC 144 bout with Joe Lauzon, but alas, both are fighting to get back on the winning track after suffering losses in 2011.
Guillard’s loss to Lauzon came as no surprise to some, as his jovial attitude—the result of fighting in Houston against a man he personally expressed interest in fighting in Lauzon—came off as cocky. In about 46 seconds, Guillard would pay for it as Lauzon submitted “The Young Assassin.”
Realistically, a loss to Benson Henderson should not be a surprising footnote on anyone’s record, but many were shocked that Miller was handled so easily by Henderson, and now here they both are: in the marquee fight of the UFC’s true debut on FX.
The bout breakdown is simple: Miller is a hard hitter, he hits to set up takedowns and he sets up takedowns to implement his wicked jiu-jitsu game. Meanwhile, Guillard possesses a strong wrestling game and can hang with some of the best in the world, but he almost always opts to stand and trade—often looking to land his patented money shot, which is a hook to the body.
Guillard is determined to avoid the same mistakes he made against Lauzon, but while he might have the better and more explosive striking, it takes a lot to rock Miller. While Guillard could show some sick ground and pound with a successful takedown on Miller, Miller has the potential to end Guillard’s night even if he's put on his back, in what should be a very close but somewhat clear encounter.
Jim Miller by Split Decision (29-28 x2; 29-28 Guillard)
Jeff McKinney: Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller are two guys who were asking for title shots in 2011.
While both fighters looked good at the beginning of the year, they both ended the year with a loss.
Now Guillard and Miller are hoping to climb back up the rankings.
Guillard comes into the bout with twice as many fights as Miller.
Known for his striking and cocky attitude, Guillard has all the potential in the world to be a champion.
But when ever he gets close to a title shot, he seems to break down.
If needing the win to get back into title contention wasn't bad enough, Guillard has the pressure of fighting under a new camp as he recently left Greg Jackson's group in order to train with the Blackzilians.
While Guillard has KO power, it will take a lot to keep Miller down.
Miller's three losses have come to Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, and Benson Henderson, and they were all by decision.
Miller has a few knockouts of his own, but he is known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which has earned him eleven submission victories.
Although Guillard is tough when he is focused, eight of his nine losses have come by submission.
This fight could go either way, but I believe Miller gets Guillard to tap.
Miller by Submission