Photos via Anne-Marie Sorvin and Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Two compact middleweights with a penchant for brutal finishes will battle each other this Friday night (Dec. 14, 2012) in the opening bout of the UFC on FX 6 main card when Hector Lombard takes on Rousimar Palhares. Find out all the details you need to know about the bout below.
Record: 31-3-1 (1 no contest) overall, 0-1 in the UFC
How he got here: Hector Lombard was a former Olympic judo competitor for Cuba but defected and began training and competing in mixed martial arts. He lost some tough fights against elite competition during a stint in Pride in the early part of his career.
But then he really settled in and found a home away from home in Australia, where he took on all the best Australian fighters, beating them from pillar to post. Eventually, "Shango" caught the attention of an upstart company named Bellator Fighting Championship and the rest is history.
Lombard would win three fights in three months to be crowned the inaugural Bellator middleweight champion and would be fed a constant stream of non-title opponents which he put down easily. Perhaps his most memorable Bellator moment was his six second knockout of UFC veteran Jay Silva.
He eventually defended his title in a lackluster affair against Alexander Shlemenko before a few non-title bouts finished his run with the promotion. When his contract expired, he waited until the exclusive Bellator negotiating period ended and signed with the UFC.
His much-hyped debut with the promotion against Tim Boetsch did not go as expected, losing a decision in an extremely uninspired performance Lombard would later blame on an injury. He'll now get a chance to redeem himself against Palhares, one of the scariest submission specialists on the roster, and he'll be doing it by returning to his adopted home country of Australia.
How he gets it done: Lombard is capable of being an animal. He comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders and going for the kill. His favorite technique is simply to put his head down and start blasting his opponents with big hooks, hoping to put them down in the first minute of the fight.
If that doesn't work, Lombard will take a step back, gather himself and either start grappling with his opposition or perhaps use a little more technical striking. He's a very compact middleweight, not tall, but extremely muscular and powerful.
Lombard will likely be trying to steamroll Palhares early especially because "Toquinho" does not react well to getting hit hard in the face. If he can crack the Brazilian's chin quickly, all will be forgiven.
Record: 14-4 overall, 7-3 in the UFC
How he got here: Rousimar Palhares came from a very impoverished background and he left his family to compete in mixed martial arts where he earned the nickname "Toquinho" which means "tree stump" due to his stocky yet very muscular build.
Palhares took to Brazilian jiu-jitsu quickly and gained a reputation for his violent leg locks. The Brazilian won the Fury FC Middleweight Grand Prix after earning two quick first round heel hook submissions on the same night and he was quickly brought into the UFC.
Palhares won his debut against veteran Ivan Salaverry in just two and a half minutes but would have his momentum halted via decision by Dan Henderson. He would again build up steam with three straight victories in the UFC middleweight division including two more vicious heel hooks.
He pulled a bonehead move against Nate Marquardt, turning and complaining to the referee in the middle of the fight and was blasted into semi consciousness for his trouble but has since scored two straight victories, one of which being a kneebar. "Toquinho" crushed Mike Massenzio this past January with (you guessed it) another heel hook.
His momentum was halted by Belcher after failing to finish a series of leg locks and getting grounded and pounded by "The Talent." Now, Palhares looks to right the ship against Lombard. .
How he gets it done: Palhares has some improving stand-up, but against Hector Lombard, he wants to put his opponent on the ground and do what he does best..
If and when the fight goes to the canvas, Palhares has the option of attacking with his merciless submission attack or he can work for top position and pound away with punches. Considering his opponent's judo background, it's much more likely that the Brazilian will be dropping for a submission whether it's a heel hook, kneebar or even an ankle lock. If "Toquinho" latches onto a limb, he's going to torque it until the ref pulls him off. And even then, it's hard to make him quit.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Palhares pull guard in this fight if he can't score a regular takedown. He's just as lethal from bottom as he is from top, even baiting his opponents very well by letting them think they have an easy pass only to dive for kneebars and armbars. His aggression is something that could catch Lombard by surprise as the former Bellator champion is not used to fighters having no fear of him. .
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this bout has to be the significant amount of pressure Lombard has to perform. The UFC was potentially grooming him for a title shot against Anderson Silva in the lead up to his fight against Tim Boetsch but his fight was so terrible that UFC President Dana White was already questioning whether Lombard should even be a middleweight in the immediate fallout of the event. Considering the amount of money Lombard is making per fight, he's got a significant amount of pressure to perform. If not, he could be sent packing.
Bottom Line: You never know what you're going to get with a Hector Lombard fight. It could be a six second knockout, an incredible showing that leaves your jaw dropped, or it could be an absolute snoozer of a staring contest that leaves you wondering why you thought the guy was so good in the first place. Lombard is an enigma. That being said, Rousimar Palhares does not screw around. He'll be going after Lombard from the opening seconds and that could force him to fight in the entertaining style we all dream of seeing. If Palhares pushes Lombard, something crazy could happen again.
Who will come out on top at UFC on FX 6? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!
Which middleweight will be victorious down under in the opening bout of UFC on FX 6?
Hector Lombard (163 votes)
Rousimar Palhares (102 votes)
265 total votes