Melvin Guillardhas lost 10 times over a nearly 10-year career, and nine of those have been by submission.
So naturally, Fabricio Camoes, a third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Royler Gracie, is going to want to take him to the ground next week and try to tap him out. Right?
Well, not necessarily, Camoes says.
Camoes (14-6-1 MMA, 1-1-1 UFC) and Guillard (29-10-2 MMA, 10-6 UFC) meet on the preliminary card of UFC 148 next week in Las Vegas, and they're moving in opposite directions. Camoes has won three straight, including his first UFC victory this past January – on the same card that Guillard lost for the second straight time by first-round rear-naked choke.
And though Camoes knows he's got the edge on the ground, he recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) he doesn't think he should be underestimated on the feet, either.
"The fight starts (in the) standup," Camoes said. "So we're going to be ready for that. I know
Melvin Guillardis a very good striker and has very heavy hands. But I've faced opponents like that before. I've fought good strikers here and in Brazil and I've been able to handle them. I've never been knocked out in my life, so that makes me confident – I think I have a good chin."
To get ready for Guillard, who has 19 knockouts in his career, Camoes has split time between his home camp at Victory MMA in San Diego and two or three weekly visits to the BlackHouse camp in Los Angeles, working with plenty of heavy hitters. And one of his Victory teammates is Jeremy Stephens, who has went 15 minutes with Guillard at UFC 119 in September 2010.
"(Stephens) gave me very good advice about what I'm supposed to do with him," Camoes said. "I think the game plan is that we've got to handle the storm at the beginning of the fight, because he comes really explosive. But I think after that, I'm going to be able to put my game on. I feel like the big hole is his jiu-jitsu, and that's a strong aspect of my game. It's going to be a chess match."
So maybe the fight hits the canvas if Camoes isn't liking the exchanges on the feet. Or maybe he stays standing. Or maybe it's all part of that "chess match" he mentioned.
The Brazilian has half of his 14 wins by submission, including a first-round tapout of Tommy Hayden at UFC on FX 1 in January. That was a long-awaited first UFC victory in his second stint with the promotion. He made his debut at UFC 106 against Caol Uno, but fought to a majority draw – a fight he'd have won if not for losing a point for illegal head kicks. In his next outing, at UFC 111, he was tapped by Kurt Pellegrino and released.
But he fought his way back with wins over UFC vets Steve Lopez and Efrain Escuedro for Tachi Palace Fights. And now that he's back, and has a UFC win under his belt, he seems intent on staying under the banner. Guillard, he thinks, must assume he wants the fight on the canvas. So maybe Camoes can stun him a little when they're standing.
"That's one of the aspects of his game we're studying a lot – the way he moves, and the way to engage him," Camoes said. "I've been training more to prepare for his fast hands. I think I'm a good striker, too. I'm a good jiu-jitsu fighter … that's my strongest point. But I'm training a lot of striking.
"If I'm able to surprise him with my striking, that's what I'll do. I'm not worried about standing and banging with someone. I think I'll be able to handle that, too."
And if Camoes can handle it and pull off the upset, he believes he might be fast-tracked in the UFC's lightweight division – or at the very least, he'll keep getting big-name opponents like Guillard.
"The UFC's always given me good names since I got in the show, so I'm pretty happy with the opportunity," he said. "Facing an opponent like Melvin Guilard, if I win the fight, I will put my name on the map."