Knock out artist and UFC, Bellator and WSOF veteran Melvin ‘The Young Assassin’ Guillard will make his AFC debut on July 28 when he battles feared kick boxer Isreal Adesanya with the Interim AFC Middleweight Championship on the line.
Melvin is one of the most renowned martial artists on the planet having competed in The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 which then resulted in a successful UFC career before moving on to fight in other major promotions around the world.
In a career which has included over 50 MMA fights, it’s safe to say Melvin always brings the fights and has rarely been involved in a contest that doesn’t have ‘fight of the night’ included in the title. With over half of his victories coming by way of KO, when Melvin lands a clean strike his opponents generally take a little nap and that’s exactly what he hopes will ensue on July 28.
Melvin is deep into a structured training camp right now, so recently I sat down with Melvin’s Manager Alex Bonwick and we discussed all things Melvin Guillard including his perceptions of the upcoming contest and future aspirations in the AFC. Check out the transcript of our discussion below:
Josh Warner – Melvin has fought and entertained crowds all over the world, including a run with the UFC. Having been involved with Melvin for a long period, give me your reflections on his martial arts journey so far; the highs, the lows and future plans and expectations?
Alex Bonwick – Melvin’s martial arts journey has truly been the definition of a life long pursuit. Long before he ever had plans of pursuing a career as a professional, Melvin was wrestling collegiately as well as studying the arts of Judo and boxing. One could say that he was destined to become the Young Assassin that we all know and love today.
To call Melvin’s time with Zuffa a run is an understatement having fought 21 times (tied for most appearances in the lightweight division) as well as having been a part of the cast of the ultimate fighter season 2. It wasn’t easy when Melvin parted ways with Zuffa but everything happens for a reason. It allowed him to make a short run with World Series of Fighting and ultimately led to Melvin finding his home with the great people at Bellator MMA. At 34 years old, Melvin is coming into the prime of his MMA career where his athleticism, experience and technique all culminate to create a very dangerous, hungry fighter.
The plan as of now is to win the AFC interim middleweight title, come back down to Australia later this year and unify the titles against the middleweight champion. Australia is a very appealing second home as I’m sure you can imagine haha.
Josh Warner – History will show that two thirds of Melvin’s wins come by way of knockout. Do you think he still has as much confidence in his power as he had say 5 years ago?
Alex Bonwick – Melvin has more confidence in his ability to knock someone out then he did 5 years ago simply because of Melvin’s diligence in training for accuracy and timing, not just hand speed and power. 29 year old Melvin and 34 year old Melvin both have the ability to turn a fighter into spaghetti legs with a single shot, the difference is now, Melvin’s got the ring savvy and experience to look for his opening and rattle someone’s cage with a properly placed punch, using only a portion of his energy as opposed to an onslaught that can leave one drained.
Josh Warner – Where will Melvin be preparing for AFC 20 and who will be his key coaches and training partners?
Alex Bonwick – Melvin’s short camp for this fight is being held at Genesis Training Center in Denver, Colorado. His coach’s name is Jake Romos and his key training partners for this fight are Brandon Girtz and Justin Gaethje as well as everybody else that has helped motivate and push Melvin for this fight. We owe each and every one of you thanks.
Josh Warner – Over Melvin’s career he’s been exposed to so many great coaches, fighters and training partners. Who are a few of the key people that stand out for you?
Alex Bonwick – It’s undeniable that Melvin has had many great influences over the years and rather than forget someone or have someone feel left out, we will take this time to thank every person who has ever helped Melvin along the way. Whether a school wrestling coach that made sure Melvin was ready for his next tournament, a sparring partner that took your bumps so Melvin could improve, or whether you’re Greg Jackson, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I’d like to take the time really quickly to mention former UFC heavyweight champion and Pride FC legend Kevin “the Monster” Randelman, RIP. He is one of Melvin’s biggest role models in the fight game.
Josh Warner – Melvin will fight Israel Adesanya on July 28. What do you know about Melvin’s opponent opponent and what are you expecting from him in this fight?
Alex Bonwick – When know that he’s undefeated and has incredible kickboxing ability. We also know that he’s a big, strong, long fighter at 6’3. That said though, we also know that there’s nobody in the world who can close distance faster than Melvin Guillard. He can hit a person with a 3-punch combo and get back before the person had finished throwing their first shot. Melvin also has some of the fastest hands in the lightweight and welterweight divisions; we believe this will translate very nicely into middleweight where the guys are even bigger and bulkier.
Josh Warner – In a contest in which both fighters have proven one punch (or kick) KO power; where do you feel Melvin will have the advantages in this fight?
Alex Bonwick – Melvin has the advantage in every area save for his height and size. The most important advantage that Team Guillard has though is experience. Melvin has 50+ professional fights with 34 wins, majority by KO. He’s fought the very best in the world and knows what it means to have pressure and how to handle it. The Australian fans will see first hand July 28th and I promise, they’ll leave craving more.
Josh Warner – Melvin wins this and he becomes the Interim AFC Middleweight Champion with sets up a genuinely mouthwatering fight with current Champ Rob Wilkinson in the future. What do you think about a potential fight with Rob?
Alex Bonwick – We don’t know a lot about Rob, but have nothing but respect for every promotions champion no matter the promotion and no matter the division. There’s a reason they’ve got that title and we don’t take anything away from them as fighters, well, that’s not entirely true. We do take their championships ;). Melvin is afraid of no man and by the sounds of things it’s a fight the fans would love, so it would be something we would be very keen on giving them after Melvin wins the AFC interim title July 28th.
Josh Warner – As the AFC continues its expansion internationally the promotion is quickly becoming a global player, which ultimately means more opportunities for our athletes. So where do you see Melvin fitting into the AFC picture in the future?
Alex Bonwick – Pretty simply put, as one of their champions. Melvin has the unique ability to win dual division titles should he choose to make a run at the welterweight crown as well. That’s his natural division after all. I think I hit the nail on the head earlier when I said Australia makes for a very, very appealing second home. Don’t miss out July 28th, and don’t blink that night either, this one’s going to be absolute fireworks!!
AFC 20 goes down on July 28 live from the Melbourne Pavilion. Get your tickets now: AFC 20 Tickets
Article by Josh Warner AFC