Like a lot of other MMA fans, I was looking forward to Hector "Lightning" Lombard’s octagon debut as much as any other fight on the card at UFC 149. And like many of those fans, I walked away from the co-main event between Lombard and Tim Boetsch with a bitter taste in my mouth.
After watching Boetsch control the fight with nothing but movement and a couple dozen leg kicks, fans were left wondering exactly what happened to the Hector Lombard we had grown accustomed to seeing.
The usually aggressive and entertaining Lombard looked like a deer in headlights for the entirety of the fight. He stood flat-footed and sat back and waited to counter with one big punch, confusing a ton of fans who thought he was one of the few real tests left for Anderson Silva.
By the end of the fight, it was apparent that Lombard had suffered one of the worst cases of UFC jitters in recent memory. But it still didn’t leave anyone feeling any better about an extremely lackluster bout.
Due to the massive amount of hype Lombard had behind him, fans were expecting a war and an impressive performance out of Lightning. And anyone who’s seen him fight over the last few years had to have been shocked at the utter lack of action on Lombard’s part last night.
Expectations weren’t raised for Lombard’s UFC debut, fans just anticipated that the former Bellator champion would come out and fight the way he always does. When he fought as timid as he did, it let a lot of people down.
It may seem like too much of the blame is falling on Lombard here, but to be fair, he deserves the majority of the backlash.
Boetsch fought a perfect fight, staying out of Lombard’s range and giving him minimal opportunities to counter with his explosive power. In short, Boetsch did exactly what he needed to do to win, and Lombard obviously was unable to do the same.
Is it possible we expected too much out of Lombard? Maybe. But we should have gotten a better fight than we did.