UFC 166 shapes up as an important night for Nate Marquardt. The veteran welterweight has dropped his last two fights, and a loss against Hector Lombard could have him facing the chopping block. Marquardt’s second stint with the organization began with a first round knockout defeat at the hands of Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158 in Montreal. Prior to that, “The Great” was punished and lost a five round decision to Tarec Saffiedine in what was the final welterweight title fight for Strikeforce.
Marquardt has plenty of experience inside the Octagon, having fought against the likes of Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen and Martin Kampmann. He began his career as a middleweight, and had a crack at the 185 pound title against Silva at UFC 73; Marquardt was stopped in the first round. He has a wealth of experience, having fought 46 times in his career. Of his 32 victories, 15 have been by submission, and another nine by knockout.
As for Lombard, the dangerous striker has yet to make the type of mark on the UFC that top officials were anticipating when they signed him to a lucrative deal. “Lightning” entered the organization with a reputation of being a brutal finisher, but his performances inside the Octagon haven’t lived up to all of the hype.
He was defeated by Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 in a debut performance that was nothing short of a flop. Lombard got a little career momentum going with a knockout victory over Rousimar Palhares, but that was followed by a split decision loss to Yushin Okami. That was the end of Lombard’s middleweight campaign in the UFC, as he is set to make his welterweight debut in Houston. Lombard is lethal early, as 15 of his stoppages have come in the very first round. He’s never been knocked out or submitted, as all four losses have come by decision.
There is no doubt that Lombard will look to explode from the opening bell and get Marquardt out of there as quickly as possible. Marquardt has power in his own right, but may be better suited being very cautious in the opening round and then utilizing take downs to try and wear his opponent out as the battle progresses. Lombard’s knockout ability is greatly reduced the longer a fight goes.
This fight shapes up as a true crossroads matchup. The winner will pretty much be assured of a high profile bout moving forward in the talent-laden welterweight division. As for the loser, they may find themselves as the latest UFC roster cut.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports