UFC 149: Hector Lombard Needs Emphatic Win to Counter Chris Weidman's Momentum
With the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen saga over for the time being, the hottest question in the UFC is who will be named as the next challenger to Silva's belt.
Chris Weidman made a heck of an opening statement with his dominant TKO victory over Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4. The two-time All-American wrestler out of Hofstra put on an absolutely stunning performance as he manhandled the former national champion, gaining several advantageous positions on the ground.
After dominating the ground game throughout Round 1, Weidman set his sights on standing and exchanging with Munoz. The move paid off, as Weidman planted a perfectly timed elbow on Munoz's face that sent him face-first into the mat. Weidman followed with strikes and eventually referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in and waved off the fight.
Weidman stepped in against one of the most well-rounded and experienced contenders in the division and made him look foolish. Weidman's victory has officially laid down the gauntlet for anyone who wants to challenge Silva next—and the bar is pretty high.
Prior to Weidman's breakthrough effort, Lombard was considered to be a favorite to challenge Silva. Freshly signed from Bellator, Lombard owns an impressive 31-2 record and has a penchant for finishing fights.
As invincible as Lombard has seemed, his opposition has been dubious at best.
Now in the UFC, Lombard has the opportunity to put the questions surrounding his competition to rest. A matchup against massive middleweight Tim Boetsch will be the toughest competition he has faced in years.
Coming off of an impressive knockout victory over Yushin Okami, Boetsch is a UFC veteran with plenty of stopping power in his own right. While a win for Lombard will undoubtedly make him a favorite to take on Silva, it's important to take UFC history into account when debating how deserving Lombard is of a title shot.
Take Jake Shields for example.
Who has a better shot at beating Anderson Silva?
Shields came to the UFC as an obvious challenger to the belt held by Georges St. Pierre. A Strikeforce import, Shields had compiled a 14-fight win streak that spanned over five years.
Shields' highly-hyped UFC debut against Martin Kampmann resulted in an underwhelming split-decision victory that had many fans wondering if Shields was all hype and no substance. Due to his impressive non-UFC resume, he was granted a title shot anyway.
One of the most boring GSP fights of all time.
Shields and St. Pierre engaged in a boxing match that didn't offer fans much in the way of excitement and resulted in a lopsided decision for the reigning champion.
With Chris Weidman at his heels, Lombard can't afford to have a lackluster UFC debut. He needs to live up to the hype and earn a decisive win.
The next shot at Anderson Silva is on the line—it's now Lombard's turn to make his best claim for it.
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