There’s no denying that up until UFC 166, the Hector Lombard experiment had been a massive disappointment. The former knockout king in Bellator had gone a middling 1-2 in the Octagon, suffering losses at middleweight to Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami. Lombard didn’t look anything like the powerful fighter who had emerged as an absolute destroyer.
However, that all changed when Lombard made the decision to drop to 170 pounds. It paid immediate dividends when he blitzed veteran Nate Marquardt in the first round of their fight in Houston. All of a sudden, Lombard was back.
“Lightning” had been hoping to land a spot on the Fight Night 33 card in Australia, but that didn’t materialize. He’s fought in Australia on numerous occasions during his MMA career. He’s also expressed an interest in facing both Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann, but those requests have gone unfulfilled thus far. Lombard now has a new target in his sights: Jake Shields.
It would certainly be a complete opposite in stylistic matchups as Lombard brings his aggressive KO mentality while Shields has been one of the sport’s ultimate grinders. He showcased that in his most recent victory over Demian Maia at Fight Night 29 in Brazil in getting a badly-needed split-decision verdict. Lombard is clearly no fan of Shields, calling his style “boring”, but it might be a solid fight to make with few options existing at the moment in the welterweight division.
Shields, for his part, has expressed an interest in facing the surging Robbie Lawler. They met back in their days in Strikeforce with Shields winning via first-round submission. Lawler is on the verge of another major opportunity after beating the highly-touted Rory MacDonald at UFC 167. We don’t know whether the revenge angle is enough for “Ruthless” to be interested in a Shields matchup, but we know that Lombard is definitely intrigued.
The one thing about Shields is that his style can make it difficult for any opponent to look spectacular against him. He’s neutralized heavy hitters in the past with his style, and has only been knocked out twice in 37 career fights.
Lombard believes he will be able to draw Shields into an exciting fight, and is confident his strength will prevent the veteran from utilizing his grappling skills and submission ground attack. It’s clear Lombard would have a huge advantage in the striking department with his 19 career knockouts. Now we wait to see if UFC matchmakers will follow up on Lombard’s request, or whether they think matching him up against a fellow striker is the way to go.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports