It was announced today that Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) Middleweight Champion Hector "Shango" Lombard (15-2-1) has signed a contract to fight for EliteXC.
Lombard is one of the top prospects from Australia and one of the best Judo players in the world. He was set to put his skills to the test against perhaps the best known Judo specialist in MMA today -- Karo Parisyan -- back at UFC 78, but the Cuban-born fighter was forced to withdraw because of visa issues.
Like most contracts with EliteXC, Lombard will still have the freedom to fight in other organizations. That means he'll still be able to fight in Australia and defend his CFC belt. That was probably a deal breaker for him, especially after already experiencing trouble getting into the U.S. in the past.
Here's a snip from CFC Director Luke Pezzutti on probably his company's best fighter signing with EliteXC:
"I am very excited for Hector as I believe he is destined to be our most successful export and I see him fighting for Elite XC title very soon. I am also excited that Elite XC have agreed to work with CFC to give our other fighters international opponents and possible opportunities to fight overseas."
Shango has not dropped a professional fight since November of 2006 -- a decision loss to Gegard Mousasi (20-2-1) at Pride 13. Since then he is undefeated (8-0-1), with a draw against another popular Aussie fighter, Kyle Noke. With Noke also fighting for EliteXC now, a rematch is a definite possibility and one Lombard would probably jump at the chance to have.
He's listed at 185 pounds and fights at that weight for CFC, but he was set to compete against Karo at 170 pounds. That means he can fight at both weights. EliteXC has plenty of talent in both weight classes and quality opponents for Lombard should not be hard to find either way.
Exposure and contractual freedom have been big sellers for Gary Shaw and EliteXC when it comes to bringing in new talent. There is no reason to think that trend will slow down now any time soon with four CBS broadcasts still to come this year.
Expect more and more fighters to join EliteXC as the weeks and months pass by.