Lombard was embarrassed in his UFC debut, looking lackluster en route to losing a close decision to Tim Boetsch after being hyped up as a serious title contender. The former Bellator middleweight champion blamed his performance on an injury and promised to come back stronger.
Did he ever.
From the opening seconds of the fight, Lombard looked a man possessed stepping forward aggressively throwing kicks and heavy punches. Palhares tried to keep him at bay with low leg kicks but Lombard was far to aggressive for that, lunging forward with heavy looping hooks trying to knock Palhares' block off.
Palhares could not circle away fast enough and the first signs of trouble appeared when he backed up straight instead of circling, eating a right and then left hook from Lombard and dropping to the canvas. Lombard tried to finish it then and there, but Palhares recovered and he backed off, knowing he could finish it on the feet.
After the reset, Lombard stalked Palhares, looking for that killshot. A lead right hand got things started and when Palhares didn't circle away quick enough, Lombard went in for the kill, throwing heavy shots against the Brazilian as Palhares could only cover up. The blows were so powerful that despite being blocked, Palhares dropped to the canvas and after two shots on the ground, "Toquinho" was out cold.
Lombard was ecstatic in his post-fight celebration, even calling out Michael Bisping due to "The Count's" disparaging remarks about his UFC debut.
For Rousimar Palhares, his inability to get the fight to the ground was his undoing. The leg kicks were a nice addition to his striking game, but when you've got a suspect chin and a lack of serious striking technique or defense against one of the scariest strikers in the division, you're going to have a bad time. Palhares' inability to continue circling cost him as Lombard was able to connect whenever he stopped moving to his right. When Lombard finally cornered him against the fence and unloaded, it was all she wrote. "Toquinho" never even got to attempt a leg lock.
For Hector Lombard, he looked so much more aggressive and explosive than in his UFC debut. He did a great job of moving forward, not following Palhares but working to cut him off in the cage and he was setting up his huge left hand with every punch he threw. It was either going to be a lead right hook to position Palhares for the left hand or a lead kick to the body to do the same. When he finally hurt the Brazilian, he wisely realized he couldn't finish and backed off, knowing he could do it again. When he did, he didn't let "Toquinho" off the hook, massacring him with heavy blows until he was out. This was the Hector Lombard that the UFC paid big bucks for.
Lombard called out Bisping, but he likely won't be getting that fight. An opponent which would make more sense would be the upcoming winner of Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami. Other potential foes include Costa Philippou should he get past Tim Boetsch or perhaps Chris Leben if he beats Karlos Vemola.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you impressed with Lombard's performance? How much stronger did he look last night compared to his UFC debut? Do you think he can still make a run?