The underrated and often overlooked Hector Lombard (24-2-1) has been clamoring for a step up in competition to make some noise in the middleweight division.
Well, if it's attention he wanted, he probably couldn't have picked a better fighter to square off with than Paulo Filho (19-1).
That's according to a report from Tatame.com, who was informed of the all-Brazilian brouhaha by Conan Silveira, Lombard’s Jiu-Jitsu trainer at American Top Team, who is preparing his student for the possible May 20 showdown under the Bellator banner.
In addition to cleaning out his division in Australia's Cage Fighting Championships (CFC), "Hektor" spent most of 2009 making a mockery of the Bellator FC middleweight division, capturing the 185-pound championship after three straight (T)KO wins for the upstart promotion.
The Cuban-born Australian is expected to defend that title later this year, and Filho would make a very worthy opponent.
Assuming he shows up.
The former WEC Middleweight Champion bailed on a scheduled appearance against Yuki Sasaki at Bitetti Combat 6 back on Feb. 25 after insisting his financial agreement wasn't worked out with the promoters beforehand and the terms were unfavorable.
The talented-but-troubled Filho has been all over the map, both figuratively and literally since his bizarre loss to Chael Sonnen at WEC 36 in November 2008 and hasn't faced a competitor even remotely close to his level of skill in over two years.
Still, it's hard not to get excited about the prospect of a dedicated and in-shape "Ely" getting back into the 185-pound mix. And a win over Lombard would go a long way in re-establishing him as a force to be reckoned with in Bellator -- and beyond.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more updates on this still-developing story.