UFC Fight Night 23, otherwise known as Fight for the Troops 2, will take place Saturday, January 22, from Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas. The show is headlined by Evan Dunham vs. Melvin Guillard & Matt Mitrione vs. Tim Hague.
Dunham vs. Guillard
The lightweight showdown between Dunham & Guillard should be an entertaining fight. Dunham, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu holds an 11 – 1 career record (4 – 1 UFC) with his only loss coming in his last fight against former UFC lightweight champion, Sean Sherk. Prior to the Sherk fight – which won Fight of the Night – Dunham won 4 in a row inside the Octagon. He holds victories over Tyson Griffin, Efrain Escudero, Marcus Aurelio & Pat Eklund. He won submission of the night in the victory over the former Ultimate Fighter winner, Escudero.
Guillard comes into the fight holding a 26 – 8 career record (8 – 4 UFC) with wins in 3 consecutive fights. He is owner of a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Most recently, Guillard beat Jeremy Stephens, Waylon Lowe & Ronnys Torres. The last top notch opponent he faced was Nate Diaz in September 2009, and Diaz won that fight by submission with a modified guillotine choke. The most impressive victory he’s had in his career is the win he technically doesn’t have anymore. In March 2005, he defeated Roger Huerta, but Huerta appealed the decision, claiming that Guillard greased between rounds. The decision was overruled, and called a no contest.
Dunham has won 6 fights with submissions, so it’ll be interesting to see if Guillard can use his knowledge in BJJ and Judo to overcome Dunham’s black belt in BJJ. If Dunham takes Guillard down, he should be able to work him over and eventually get the submission. If Guillard can keep the fight on the feet, then it’s his fight to lose. Training with Greg Jackson is a big deal for Guillard. It’s because of Jackson that Guillard has advanced as far as he has in the sport.
Mitrione vs. Hague
With a career 3 – 0 record, all inside the UFC, Mitrione is advancing with every fight. The former NFL player is taking up kickboxing & BJJ as he attempts to improve his game. With victories over Joey Beltran, Kimbo Slice & Marcus Davis, Mitrione hasn’t beaten the elite heavyweights, but has shown he can adapt to various situations. In his first career fight, Mitrione knocked out Jones before defeating Slice via TKO. In September, Mitrione went the distance with Beltran, winning the fight convincingly on his way to Fight of the Night honors.
Hague owns a career record of 12 – 4 (1 – 3 UFC) but has lost 3 of his last 5 fights. He beat Pat Barry in his UFC debut in May 2009, before losing three in a row inside the Octagon to Todd Duffee, Chris Tuchscherer & Beltran. The fight with Tuchscherer involved a controversial majority decision, which most people, who saw the fight, felt he won. He was then released and won 2 straight fights, with knockouts in only 4:01, in the Canadian promotion Aggression MMA.
For Hague to defeat the less experienced Mitrione, he needs to use his experience and purple belt in BJJ to sneak a submission in at some point. Both men are about the same size, but Mitrione is stronger and could cause problems for Hague. If Mitrione can avoid making inexperienced mistakes, he should be able to gain the advantage.
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