Last night, Hector Lombard came out in Australia and performed like the fighter we were all expecting to see when he debuted against Tim Boetsch earlier this year. In knocking out a very tough fighter in Rousimar Palhares, Lombard may have just reignited the fire on his quick-to-disappear hype train. A fresh change from his first UFC bout, which most MMA fans derided as being largely boring to watch. Some accredited Lombard's lackluster performance to a case of the Octagon jitters. Lombard himself has stated that he he was injured heading into the bout with Boetsch, but could not pull out of his debut. Others thought Lombard beat Boetsch even though it was an uneventful fight.
However, last night the Hector Lombard of old showed up. He came out stalking his opponent as he did all those nights over in Bellator, throwing leather with bad intentions and seemingly landing punches at will. Sure, most thought that Palhares' only chance to win was to take the fight to the ground, but when he tried, Lombard shrugged him off like an immovable object. And Palhares is an expert BJJ practitioner. In beating a quality Middleweight with such ease, Lombard sent out notice to the UFC Middleweight division.
According to Lombard, the man he wants to fight is highly ranked contender Michael Bisping. He spoke of his intentions to knock him out during his post-fight interview in the cage. Should Lombard be given a chance at Bisping or another top five Middleweight? I would venture to say he does. Palhares himself has lost very few fights, and they were to top fighters like Dan Henderson and Alan Belcher. His punches seemed to hold all of the power that he was billed as having. There may still be some questions about Lombard's level of competition due to his long tenure as Bellator champion, but the only way to find out the truth is to give him some great fights. Will he face and/or defeat Anderson Silva? That question is a little far off and speculative. But Lombard is headed right where we thought he would be this summer. Do you buy back into the hype or do you need to see more?