Lombard had won his last 24 fights, excluding a 2007 draw with Kyle Noke. Within that time, he won the inaugural Bellator middleweight tournament to become the organization's first and only champion to date.
The Cuban wasn't the only man entering the fight with momentum behind him. Boetsch entered the bout on the heels of his stunning KO victory over contender Yushin Okami at UFC 144. That win placed The Barbarian firmly in the top-10 rankings from many publications, including B/R MMA.
Boetsch looked to stay moving and throw some shots, while Lombard stood still for the majority of the first round, landing efficient counterstrikes and shucking off takedowns from The Barbarian.
Like the calm before the storm, Lombard continued to use little movement while countering Boetsch's attacks in the second round. Moving forward a bit more, Boetsch looked hesitant to fire on the Bellator champion.
Lombard landed a strike to the body of Boetsch that sent The Barbarian into a wince. Lombard pounced, but seemed hesitant in throwing strikes after taking Boetsch to the ground.
The third round saw more hesitation from Lombard, although he seemed to be moving forward throughout. Without putting much effort into it, he would score counterstrikes and stuff takedowns for five minutes.
Boetsch stayed active and occasionally pushed the action, although he didn't land any damage, couldn't score the takedown and never controlled the fight.
Lombard clearly did the most damage in this fight, and I feel like he won the fight without any question, but he seemed like something was off. I noticed during the walk out that Lombard was wearing four layers of clothing. Perhaps he came into this fight under the weather and it affected his performance.
The win makes Boetsch 4-0 in the middleweight division, and it is his second victory against a top-10 opponent.
With a disappointing performance in his debut, Lombard lost the tremendous momentum that he carried over from his Bellator career.
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