Former three-time All-American wrestler and WEC veteran Shane Roller (10-3) takes on lightweight contender Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard on Saturday night at UFC 132 in Las Vegas.
The 31-year-old went 6-2 in the WEC and has defeated the likes of former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, Danny Castillo, and Anthony Njokuani.
Roller heads into the MGM Grand Garden Arena after making a successful Octagon debut against Thiago Tavares at UFC on Versus 3. It was on this night that he earned “knockout of the night” honors.
“Anytime you finish a fight, you’re going to have your adrenaline pumping,” Roller told MMAWeekly Radio. “I go crazy when I finish a fight like that. It’s different from wrestling; in your career you wrestle two times a week. With fighting, you’re just training for two months at a time just for this one guy and you finally get there and you do something to finish the fight early and tons of emotion are pouring through your body.”
The Team Takedown lightweight relishes the fact he gets a crack at a Top 10 opponent like Guillard and feels that Guillard is an elite striker in the lightweight division. Heading into Saturday’s bout, Roller feels that it’s his time to enter the lightweight elite.
“I’m real excited, I’m ready to make that move, and he’s a big time name. He’s probably one of the best strikers in the lightweight division, real explosive, and I’m ready to get out there, get after it, and test my skills and try to put myself up there with those guys.”
According to the odds makers at Bet on Fighting, the former All-American is the underdog at +220, while Guillard is at -280. Most feel that since Roller’s opponent is in the Top 10 and that everybody is counting him out, that the pressure is all on Guillard, however, Roller feels otherwise.
“Yeah, I’m taking this fight with the same approach. I don’t care if I’m supposed to win 10-1 odds or if I’m down 10-1 odds. It doesn’t matter. I don’t look at that stuff. I take the same approach to every fight and I expect to win every fight. I don’t feel pressure. I feel as if I got to get this win whether I’m the favorite or the underdog. I put pressure on myself to win every time I step out there in the ring. I’m doing everything to get my hand raised that night.”
While even Roller feels that Guillard is perhaps one of the best strikers in the division, Roller feels ready for the challenge and is excited to test his stand-up against the heavy-handed striker.
“He’s explosive and he’s very athletic. You got to be ready for quick, explosive moves, and his quick knees and heavy strikes. He comes out ready to bang and you know it’s going to be an exciting fight,” said Roller.
“I’m ready for it, I’m ready for the challenge. Obviously my game plan at some time in all my fights it’s going to be on the ground at some point of the fight. I’m excited to test my stand-up with him and I’m not saying I won’t go right in there and be shooting, but I want to test my stand-up with him because I think I can go out there and bang with him.”