What: UFC Fight for the Troops 2
Where: Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas
When: Saturday, the undercard starts at about 7 PM ET and the Spike TV card starts at 9.
Predictions on the five televised fights below.
Evan Dunham vs. Melvin Guillard
In the main event we've got Dunham, the hot prospect who dropped to 11-1 in his career when he lost a controversial split decision to Sean Sherk, against Guillard, the Octagon veteran who's on a three-fight winning streak after once looking like he was never going to reach his great potential.
Guillard is so experienced (26-8-2 in his pro career, including 8-4 in the UFC) that a lot of people forget that he's only 27 years old and still has plenty of room for improvement. On a conference call to promote the fight, UFC President Dana White noted Guillard's improvement over the last couple years.
"Melvin Guillard has won six of his last seven," White said. "The one thing I've always said about Melvin Guillard, I've always thought this kid was an incredible athlete, had tons of talent. He just needed to get his head right. And now it looks like he's hooked himself up with the right people and is, you know, going to do something with the potential that everybody thought he had."
"The right people" means coach Greg Jackson, whom Guillard credited with "building my confidence as a person and a fighter." Training with Jackson, Guillard has a real chance to become a Top 10 lightweight.
But I don't think he has a great chance to beat Dunham, especially if the fight goes to the ground. Dunham has a 6-0 record in fights decided by submission, while all four of Guillard's UFC losses (and none of his wins) are by submission. If Dunham can get the fight to the floor, I like him to take this one.
Matt Mitrione vs. Tim Hague
Hague left the UFC on a three-fight losing streak last year, then won two fights on smaller shows and has been brought back now. Unfortunately for Hague, I think he was basically brought back to lose to a guy the UFC wants to promote as a big part of its heavyweight division going forward.
Mitrione is a former NFL player with an engaging personality and some high-profile victories, including one over Kimbo Slice last year, and the UFC likes his potential as a draw. The 3-0 Mitrione is still very green, but he's one of the UFC's most athletic heavyweights and he seems dedicated to turning himself into a complete mixed martial artist. I like him to beat Hague by TKO.
Mark Hominick vs. George Roop
It's not the main event, but this is the most important fight of the night because it could determine the next UFC featherweight title contender. UFC President Dana White has said that if Hominick wins and comes out of the fight relatively healthy, he'll challenge featherweight champ Jose Aldo at UFC 129.
I'm not convinced that Hominick really deserves that title shot, but I understand why the UFC is doing it: With a win over Roop Hominick would be on a five-fight winning streak, Hominick would be a hometown favorite at UFC 129 in Toronto, and most importantly the UFC doesn't have many other options: There just aren't any real good challengers for Aldo in the UFC right now. I think the UFC will get its wish, Hominick will win a decision against Roop, and he'll get that shot at Aldo.
Pat Barry vs. Joey Beltran
Another heavyweight fight, this one featuring a couple of guys who are coming off losses but are known for exciting if somewhat sloppy fights. I think Barry's striking is going to be too much for Beltran to handle.
Cole Miller vs. Matt Wiman
This is the kind of fight the UFC books to open a show with fireworks. Miller has three Submission of the Night bonuses and one Knockout of the Night bonus to his credit, while Wiman has three Fight of the Night bonuses. I'll pick Miller to get the win and both of them to get a bonus check.