Oh, Hector Lombard.
All the muscles, Olympic-level Judo experience and tough-talking was not nearly enough to topple Yushin Okami in their Middleweight clash at UFC on FUEL TV 8 last night (March 2, 2013) in Saitama, Japan.
Indeed, "Thunder" neutralized "Lightning" with his frustrating -- and very effective -- wrestling prowess. Lombard came out of his corner for the 185-pound bout looking to register a quick finish, however, the crafty mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran and wily former No. 1 division contender had other plans.
Okami wisely kept his distance from the stocky and cocky Cuban, waiting for his opportunity to get the fight do the ground, which is where he stood the best chance of victory. It didn't take long for the Japanese fighter to score a takedown and then continue to do so seemingly at will for the next 15 minutes.
Lombard didn't have much of an answer until the third round, when he burst out of his corner like a crazed animal looking to notch a munch-needed come-from-behind knockout victory. He actually hurt Okami, dropping him to a knee and elicting visions of his late-fight technical knockout loss to Tim Boetsch not too long ago.
But, Okami hung on and made it to the end this time, securing a big split decision win in a fight that was not nearly as close as the final result would suggest. Lombard -- who wasted precious time late in the third round toiling in Okami's guard rather than rising to his feet to compel a stand up exchange -- has now dropped two of three Octagon appearances under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner.
It's unclear at this time if Lombard will be afforded a fourth opportunity after this latest performance -- he ain't cheap. Okami, meanwhile, rolls to his third straight victory and second consecutive contender kill (Alan Belcher being the other).