After Guillard lost four of five bouts with the UFC, he was unceremoniously released but quickly signed with the WSOF. After a tuneup bout against JZ Cavalcante, he fought the lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje, which is where things went sour.
Gaethje came out unmotivated and fairly lethargic, but Guillard looked worse. Not only did “The Young Assassin” not make weight, he didn’t put up much of an interesting fight. Gaethje was content to stalk Guillard as long as Guillard wasn’t going to push the action (which he didn’t).
Even though it was a split-decision loss for Guillard, it was a convincing enough loss that he fell out of the championship picture for as long as Gaethje is champion. It seems this upset Guillard greatly, essentially forcing his way out by failing to submit medical documents for a fight and eventually having his agent request a release.
— malki kawa (@malkikawa) April 30, 2015
In a warped, dented way though, it makes sense from Guillard’s standpoint to force his release. Guillard still view himself as a UFC-level talent and it probably is pretty humiliating to be an also-ran in a B-league. The only remaining “name” fighter for Guillard to face in the WSOF was Nick Newell, which is not exactly a fight that boosts the resume.
By joining Belltator, Guillard joins a promotion with a deeper lightweight class, allowing Guillard to potentially headline several cards. Scott Coker touched on this when he commented on Guillard’s signing (via MMAjunkie.com):
“We are excited to have Melvin coming onboard. With competitors the likes of Lightweight Champion Will Brooks, Michael Chandler, Marcin Held, Derek Anderson, Saad Awad, Dave Jansen and Patricky Pitbull on the roster already, the matchup possibilities for an exciting fighter like him are endless.”
If Guillard can string together a few wins out of this group, he stands a punchers’ chance of getting resigned with the UFC. He’s still a draw as his early career knockouts still resonate with MMA fans.
Granted, winning a few Bellator lightweight bouts is easier said than done as Guillard seems to be more name than game at this point in his career and hasn’t won consecutive fights since 2011.
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