Hector Lombard made a successful welterweight debut when he throttled Nathan Marquardt at October’s UFC 166. The former Bellator middleweight champion had experienced a very lackluster run at 185 pounds in the UFC, losing to Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami.

He had a huge amount of hype coming into the UFC and was nearly deemed a bust. The losses prompted a weight cut that appears to be headed in the right direction.

And now he has a new opponent.

Lombard will fight former welterweight title challenger Jake Shields at UFC 171 on March 15 from Dallas, Texas. ESPN broke the news this afternoon.

Shields is in a similar position as Lombard in that he came to the UFC with massive hype. He won a very arguable split decision over Martin Kampmann in his promotional debut before dropping a decision to champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129.

The loss sparked a downward trend for Shields, who was next finished by Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 25. The former Strikeforce middleweight champ has rebounded well with three straight decision wins over Yoshihiro Akiyama, Ed Herman, and Tyron Woodley. The Herman win was changed to a No-Contest after Shields failed the post-fight drug test.

Shields got arguably his biggest UFC win by smothering touted Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia in the main event of UFC Fight Night 29 in October.

The fight presents an interesting battle between two former champions, one being a power striker and the other a top-level grappler. Each fighter can instantly get their name in the welterweight mix with a victory at UFC 171. Will Shield’s mat prowess shine through or will “Lightning” strike once more?

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