Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight veterans Hector Lombard and Johny Hendricks collided last night (Feb. 19, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 105 inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Several years back, Lombard was a terrifying contender at 170 pounds. Then, a failed drug test and a come-from-behind defeat sent him back to Middleweight, where Dan Henderson rudely introduced him to his elbow. To remain a contender, Lombard absolutely needed to win this fight. Similarly, it wasn’t all that long ago that Hendricks was Welterweight champ. A series of mediocre performances, tough losses and brutal scale fails have led Hendricks to 185 pounds, where he was hoping for a fresh start.
Hendricks opened the bout with a lot of lateral movement, circling around his foe and firing off low kicks. Lombard was patient early, but he soon began to find his range and score with power punches. To his credit, Hendricks absorbed them well and fired back, scoring with some solid counter punches as well.
On the whole, it was a pretty close and slow-paced round. Several of the bigger moments came when Lombard caught Hendricks’ low kick, as he scored a hard counter punch and brief takedown. It was close, but Lombard seemed to take the opening frame without using all that much energy.
The pace began to pick up a bit at the start of the second. Both men scored with some solid power shots early, but Lombard began to find a consistent home for his right hook. Hendricks was still in the fight, but suddenly it was Lombard more consistently backing him up with power punches.
Hendricks found more success in the second half of the round. Against a foe of similar height, Hendricks landed several nice stepping knees and also scored with some dirty boxing shots in the clinch.
All in all, it was another very competitive round.
Both men were a touch tired to open the final round, but neither were unreasonably exhausted. By this point in the fight, both men knew which weapons were working and continued to land them, as Lombard attacked with the jab and right hook whereas his opponent kept finding a home for his step knee.
In the second half of the round, Lombard’s volume really dropped. He became hesitant to throw combinations, allowing “Big Rigg” to find more success with his punches and avoid the solo shots of Lombard. Surprisingly, Lombard found more success with his kicks in the third round than anything else.
Hendricks edged the round, but it was still far from dominant. Ultimately, all three judges awarded Hendricks the win.
Hendricks may not have performed at his all time best, but he definitely did better than in his recent Welterweight performances. Aside from the fact that Hendricks actually won the third round and didn’t look like he wanted to die, the former Welterweight champion bounced around and simply looked looser than his previous performances.
Additionally, Hendricks’ combinations were back. Lately, his volume on the feet has dropped significantly, whereas that’s precisely what won him that bout. Both men landed hard shots, but it was Hendricks who threw multiple shots and kept pushing the pace in the final round.
It’s a start.
In his next bout, it may be time to match Hendricks up with a full-sized Middleweight. It doesn’t need to be a top contender just yet, but someone along the lines of Tim Boetsch could make sense.
As for Lombard, he may have an argument to win the decision, but the same problems that have long plagued him cost him this bout. Lombard allowed his opponent to out-pace him, and even while fighting measured he slowed down considerably. Part of the problem is that Lombard loads up too much. There were numerous times throughout the fight where Lombard tried to fling out a wide left overhand that Hendricks saw from miles away. Had the Cuban instead worked behind his jab and kicks more to set up his big left hand, he may have been able to score more consistently.
Instead, this may just be the end of his UFC run.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 105, Johny Hendricks scored a decision victory. Can Hendricks become a contender at 185 pounds?
For complete UFC Fight Night 105: “Browne vs. Lewis” results and play-by-play, click HERE!