<
>

Guillard enters Bellator 149 with eyes on the future

play
What does Guillard, 32, need for second wind? (1:02)

ESPN MMA reporter Brett Okamoto discusses Melvin Guillard's attempted career revival, which gets another opportunity Friday at Bellator 149. (1:02)

Melvin Guillard has plans for a busy and successful 2016, and it all starts in front of his family and friends on Friday at Bellator 149 in Houston.

"I'm just ready to put on some fireworks man. I'm long overdue for beating the s--- out of someone impressively," Guillard told ESPN.com. "I plan on getting five fights in this year, and I plan on going 5-0 in 2016. This is my year; nobody can beat me this year."

For that plan to bear any fruit, Guillard (32-15-2, 2 NC) must get past Derek Campos (15-6) in their lightweight bout (Spike TV/ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).

Guillard, 32, is pleased with the location of the event, as "Space City" is his wife's hometown and a place he spent time after Hurricane Katrina hit his native New Orleans. While he expects to have many in the Toyota Center crowd cheering him on, Guillard wasn't too thrilled about his promotion for the card.

"I just feel a little disrespected that I wasn't on a poster, I wasn't on the commercials," said Guillard.

Guillard-Campos is scheduled to go on before the grudge match co-main event between backyard fighting legends Kimbo Slice (5-2) and Dada 5000 (2-0). Being the appetizer for what he calls a "hood street brawl that they brought to the ring" doesn't sit well with Guillard.

"I think my name alone is a bigger draw than Kimbo and Dada, no disrespect to Kimbo -- he is a teammate," Guillard said. "I felt Kimbo should've fought another worthy opponent, because Dada is a joke."

Campos, 27, serves as a late replacement for Mike Bronzoulis, who pulled out of the fight earlier this month due to an undisclosed injury. Campos, nicknamed "The Young Stallion," has lost three of four and is coming off a 37-second knockout loss to Brandon Girtz at Bellator 146.

For Guillard, who is fighting in Houston for the first time since UFC 136 in October 2011, the change in opponent hasn't fazed him.

"I thought it was going to be Mike. I thought he was going to be the victim, but I guess it's gonna be Derek Campos," said Guillard. "Everyone asks me does he pose a threat to me? F--- no he don't. He's a fighter and I'm a fighter, but I'm a better fighter. I'm quicker, I'm faster, I'm stronger and I hit harder."

The recent run for Guillard hasn't been a favorable one, with three losses in his past four bouts and multiple issues with making weight. The 13-year veteran, who fought for the UFC from 2005-2014, was released by the World Series of Fighting in 2015 after a disappointing two-fight run.

In his Bellator debut last August, Guillard lost to Girtz via split decision and later required surgery after breaking his right hand for the eighth time in his career. He finished the fight with an offensive flurry that omitted any strikes from the right hand.

If he had the full use of his hand, in both the fight and during training camp, where it also bothered him, Guillard has no doubt he would have been able to put a stamp on the outcome.

"Sometimes I'd have to go a week without even using the hand, because it would lock up on me right near the wrist where I broke it," said Guillard. "The doctors I had, they did a tremendous job. I'm back at throwing my right hand at 150 percent. I'm excited about what's to come."

What's to come, according to Guillard, is a matchup against hard-hitting Patricky Freire. Guillard and Freire have already had a back and forth via social media with "The Young Assassin" not mincing words about his desire to fight the larger of the two "Pitbull" brothers.

Guillard is hoping Bellator makes this fight a reality sometime in April. The promotion has an event scheduled for April 22 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Freire is coming off a highlight-reel, one-punch knockout of Ryan Couture at Bellator 148. But Guillard wasn't impressed with the performance, calling Freire a "one-dimensional, cocky kickboxer."

"That dude won't even touch me in this fight," Guillard said. "He thinks I'm gonna be an easy payday. I'm gonna make him an easy payday too."