Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Hector Lombard and Josh Burkman collided last night (Sat., Jan. 3, 2015) at UFC 182 from inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lombard may not have lived up to his reputation of a destroyer just yet, but he looked quite dominant at welterweight heading into his latest bout. Though having most opponents decline to fight him made it difficult to build momentum, Lombard finally found a willing dance partner in Josh Burkman.
Meanwhile, it's been a number of years since "The People's Champion" stepped into the Octagon. During his time away, Burkman found plenty of success and contended for the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) title.
Burkman largely adopted Tim Boestch's game plan for the first round. By circling away from Lombard and looking for a high volume of kicks, Burkman kept the fight close without being in too much danger. Unlike "The Barbarian," Burkman occasionally stepped toward his foe with heavy combinations.
Still, Lombard landed some hard left hooks. Plus, he began brutalizing Burkman's lead leg with some heavy low kicks, which definitely hurt. Overall, the first was very competitive, as Burkman held the edge in volume but Lombard controlled the center of the Octagon.
The second round began with a firefight. Both men landed heavy shots, but Lombard's power advantage often shook his opponent a bit. Additionally, the power punches seemed to slow Burkman down a bit for the second half of the round.
This time, Lombard was able to land more significant shots when he had his opponent pinned to the cage. Burkman attempted to throw singular counter punches, but Lombard was often able to land the more effective strikes.
Lombard clearly took the second frame.
In the third round, Burkman was clearly tired of trading punches with the Cuban. He quickly shot for a single leg, but Lombard stuffed it and reversed into his own clinch trip. From the top, he passed into side control and landed some small shots before Burkman returned to his feet.
The final two minutes of the bout went like much of the fight. Lombard walked his man down, landed some hard punches, and devastating low kicks. By this point, Burkman was too abused to successfully fight back, and the fight slowly winded down.
For the second time in a row, Lombard took a clear decision victory over a game veteran.
Above all else, it's an excellent sign that Lombard can fight three rounds well. Against both Shields and Burkman, Lombard was able to set his own pace and maintain it throughout the fight.
In addition, Lombard has developed some answers for his opponents that look to circle away from him. By either running his opponent into a low kick or hook, Lombard forced his opponent to be cautious when moving laterally. In turn, that made it easier for him to pin his foe to the cage and unleash his punches.
As usual, Lombard's grappling is ridiculously effective. Burkman's attempts to wrestle were quickly shutdown, and Lombard basically had the takedown whenever he wanted it. All in all, it was a pretty dominant performance for "Showeather."
In his next bout, he should take on the winner of Kelvin Gastelum vs Tyrone Woodley.
It's hard to criticize Burkman. He fought a smart fight, but he was nowhere near his opponent's athletic level. Similarly, he hung tough in wild exchanges but didn't have the power to discourage his opponent.
Burkman deserves a ranked opponent. That was perhaps the toughest return fight for any UFC castoff in recent memory, and Burkman put on a gutsy performance. For his next bout, a match with Ryan LaFlare would certainly be entertaining.
At UFC 182, Hector Lombard continued to be a dominant force at welterweight. How high can the Cuban climb?
For complete UFC 182 "Jones vs Cormier" results and play-by-play, click HERE.