Bellator 69: Is Maiquel Falcao the Next Hector Lombard?

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2012

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After Bellator 69, Maiquel Falcao will establish himself as the favorite to replace Hector Lombard as one of the most exciting champions in the organization.

Falcao finds himself a win over Andreas Spang away from claiming his shot at the middleweight championship. With former champion Lombard recently signed to the UFC, the winner of tonight's fight will meet fellow middleweight contender Alexander Schlemenko for the now-vacant title.

When Bellator lost Lombard, they didn't only lose a champion.

They lost one of their biggest draws and most exciting fighters. Lombard was a powerhouse and one of the elite fighters in an organization with a roster mostly devoid of marketable stars. 

Luckily for Bellator, Falcao has joined the company's roster at a great time. With the title up for grabs, Falcao has impressively outpointed Norman Paraisy and Vyacheslav Vasilevsky in highly entertaining bouts that showed off Falcao's explosive striking and impressive hand speed.

Falcao's fight with Spang should be even more entertaining as both fighters are gifted strikers, and there will be some bad blood between the two after their post-fight scuffle at Bellator 66.

Despite winning his first two Bellator fights by decision, Falcao is known as a finisher. Out of Falcao's 30 wins in his career, 26 were finishes, and he has won by KO/TKO 23 times. By comparison, Lombard has won 31 career fights and finished 24 of them (17 KO/TKO and seven submissions).

Falcao may not be as well versed in submissions as Lombard, but the two are both entertaining middleweights who throw strikes with bad intentions. 

With Lombard gone, Bellator desperately needs a new star in the middleweight division and Falcao could definitely be that star.