Hector Lombard vs. Nate Marquardt Booked for UFC 166
Hector Lombard gets what he wants.
After mentioning his desire to drop to welterweight to face Nate Marquardt (via MMAfighting.com), the former middleweight standout Lombard has officially been granted his wish.
According to a report from MMAfighting.com, Lombard will make his welterweight debut against Marquardt Oct. 19 at UFC 166 in Houston, Texas.
Both men desperately need a win to stay relevant in the ever-deepening pool of talent that is the UFC's welterweight division, and Lombard will look to reinvent himself at this lighter weight class.
A fighter who has never fought below 185 pounds in his career, Lombard is known for his knockout power and ferocious killer instinct, but with his stocky, muscle-bound stature, one has to wonder how a drop to welterweight will affect his performance.
Interestingly, Marquardt also fought the majority of his career at middleweight before dropping to welterweight in July 2012 at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. There, Marquardt starched Tyron Woodley via fourth-round knockout to claim the Strikeforce welterweight championship.
After an impressive start to his welterweight campaign, however, Marquardt dropped back-to-back fights to Tarec Saffiedine and Jake Ellenberger, the latter which he lost via knockout in the very first round at UFC 158.
Lombard's recent resume provides a similar roller-coaster experience, as he was one of the most hyped prospects to enter the Octagon in recent memory after a hugely successful stint as the Bellator middleweight champion.
Boasting an otherworldly 31-2-1 (1) record, Lombard failed to impress in his UFC debut, where he lost to Tim Boetsch via split decision at UFC 149. From there, Lombard bounced back and scored a first-round knockout of Rousimar Palhares before dropping another decision, this time to longtime middleweight contender Yushin Okami.
To Lombard's credit, his losses have come to grapple-first fighters, and his standup has looked powerful and precise when he has decided to open up and throw leather.
Marquardt, who is also primarily known as a striker, will probably look to keep this fight standing, so fans will have plenty to cheer about when this one kicks off.
As an early prediction, I'll take Lombard via knockout in Round 1. Marquardt has looked off recently, and I think Lombard will finally get his act together and channel the beast we all expected when he made his debut at UFC 149.
What do you think? Is my prediction crazy, outlandish or just plain wrong? Let me know in the comments, and we'll talk about it.