Melvin Guillard knocked out Evan Dunham in the first round of the main event at UFC’s Fight for the Troops 2 in Fort Hood, Texas, Saturday night.
Guillard, a late injury replacement, thrust himself into contention in the UFC lightweight division with the upset win.
“I’m the dark horse in this game at ‘55 (155 pounds),” Guillard said afterward. “No disrespect to anyone, but I am the best 155 pound fighter in the UFC. You keep lining them up, and I’ll keep knocking them down.”
Dunham had no answer for Guillard’s punching power and hand speed. Twenty seconds into the fight, Guillard hurt Dunham with a right cross. Dunham responded with a takedown attempt and was able to briefly put Guillard on the mat.
Guillard fought back to his feet and actually landed about five rights while standing on one leg as Dunham tried to get him back down.
Midway through the first round, Guillard landed a one-two combination that dropped Dunham. “I think that combination should be named after me,” Guillard said.
Dunham tried to stop the onslaught with another takedown shot, but Guillard stuffed it and rained down hammer fists, forcing Dunham to back off.
Guillard followed with a right hand and a knee that had Dunham reeling. Guillard landed a second knee, and referee Mario Yamasaki jumped in to stop the fight at 2:58 of the first round.
Guillard landed a third knee while Dunham was down, which is an illegal strike, but Yamasaki was already on his way in to separate the fighters and end the bout, helping to minimize the controversy.
Guillard’s performance earned him Knockout of the Night honors and a chance for bigger fights on the horizon.
The win moved Guillard to 27-8-2 and was his fourth straight and his sixteenth career knockout.
“I’ll go undefeated in 2011 and get my title shot by 2012,” he said.
Dunham fell to 11-2.