It was one of the most hyped debuts of any UFC newcomer last night (July 21, 2012) when top ranked former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard stepped into the Octagon against Tim Boetsch in the co-main event of UFC 149.
And that hype train derailed in a big way.
Lombard entered the event on a 25 fight unbeaten streak and was hailed as the next challenger for Anderson Silva's UFC title, but he did not look like half the man that he was hyped to be.
So what happened in the fight that made "Lightning" look like a meager spark? And what happens next for both men?
Follow me after the jump for our Tim Boetsch vs. Hector Lombard UFC 149 post-fight review and analysis.
Lombard came out swinging early in typical Hector Lombard fashion, but when he didn't score a knockout in the first 30 seconds, he settled down, way down.
Instead of pressing the action, the American Top Team fighter instead chose a puzzling strategy of standing almost completely still and waiting for Tim Boetsch to do something.
Boetsch, to his credit, at least circled away from Lombard's power and peppered him with both leg and his patented push kicks. What didn't work for Boetsch were his takedowns. Lombard was able to use his strong base to defend every attempt and even take Boetsch down a few times, although he couldn't keep him there.
As the fight wore on, Lombard continued to lack aggression and failed to engage. The recordbreaking crowd began to get restless and the boos started pouring in. This did not motivated Lombard to even try to make the fight more exciting and he seemed content to stand there flat-footed in the center of the cage and do practically nothing.
When the scores were announced, Tim Boetsch walked away with a split decision.
For Hector Lombard, even though several people scored the fight in his favor, he didn't deserve to win. That was about as lackluster and disappointing of a debut as any fighter has ever had in UFC history. Some will blame it on the infamous "Octagon jitters" but that's a bullshit excuse. Lombard has done this exact same thing before. People forget about his fight against Faleniko Vitale because he scored a third round knockout but the first two rounds of that fight were the exact same as this one. If his opponent refuses to stand and trade strikes, he just shuts down and can't perform. That was an embarrassment and he should be ashamed of himself.
Lombard is going to get a lot of flack from the haters saying he was always just a cancrusher and he's overrated and you know what? Maybe they were right. He's going to have to prove himself in his next fight. He wanted Mark Munoz all along apparently so I suppose now he'll likely get him. Part of me wants to see him thrown against Chael Sonnen just to see him get potentially wrestled and dominated as punishment. A final possibility could be a returning Chris Leben this November. That would have all the potential to be a war.
For Tim Boetsch, he fought a smart gameplan that relied on not trading punch for punch with Lombard, and it worked. Now it wasn't the most exciting plan, but at least he was doing something in this fight. He made Lombard look like he was lost out there. The leg kicks and push kicks from the outside were scoring as well and while he couldn't put Lombard on his back, it was nice to see him at least be aggressive with his takedowns to keep Lombard guessing.
Potential next opponents for Boetsch include Alan Belcher or Vitor Belfort. He could also potentially face the upcoming Ed Herman vs. Jake Shields winner. He definitely is not sniffing a title shot after that snoozer.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Could Lombards debut have been more ineffective? Is he all hype or was this just a misstep that can be corrected?