So let’s get a few things straight: Melvin Guillard hits really hard. His ground game however has shown to be sub-par in the past. Donald Cerrone has a really solid chin and a much better much more offensive ground game. “Cowboy” is clearly coming in with the advantage. But let’s break the matchup down through each aspect of the fight game.
Striking wise both Cerrone and Guillard are savages. Cerrone is a fine tuned Muay-Thai striker with precision punches and vicious kicks. Guillard on the other hand is the opposite of finesse. He knocks your face in. Cerrone should be able to control the range with his footwork and timing, but his love of striking battles may drag him into the brawl Guillard wants.
Bleacherreport.com’s Scott Harris said it best: “Cerrone’s stand-up wins him fans, but his ground game wins him fights.” Despite the fact Cerrone loves a good brawl, he’s a really intelligent fighter that mixes the horizontal and vertical aspects of the fight game seamlessly. Guillard may be strong and explosive, but his grappling technique is years behind Cerrone’s.
The same is to be said with submissions. Thirteen of Cerrone’s 18 wins have come by submissions. The fact that he uses his submission so offensively might be one of his best qualities as a fighter. Nine of Guillard’s ten loses have come by way of submission, eight of which via some form of choke (Donald has ten wins via choke). Cowboy has a huge advantage here, a fact that he has more than acknowledged leading up to this fight.
The one thing that’s bugging me is that Cerrone already seems to be looking past Guillard. In a recent interview with Inside MMA he barely acknowledges the fact that he’s fighting one of the most dangerous strikers in the division, and instead focuses his comments on Anthony Pettis. “I definitely wanna go after that title, and getting a rematch with Henderson would be an honor. That’d be sweet, for the belt. But, I really wanna fight Anthony Pettis. I want him to quit crying about his hurt shoulder and step up and fight me. I don’t know what I gotta do. Just grab your purse and let’s dance, brother.”
Guillard is not the type of fighter you want to look past. However, his punching power is really all he has going for him in this fight. Combine that with the home court advantage “Cowboy” has being in Denver, and how amped he gets off of the crowd, leads to one long night for “The Young Assassin”. Also, Cerrone has actually been training away from his usual spot at Jackson’s camp to train at altitude in the Colorado Rockies. Coming into this fight he’ll be acclimated and ready to fight.
Cerrone is the favorite here for a reason. He has too many dimensions to his game over Guillard and has a proven track record of utilizing all of those to finish fights.