Say what you want about Hector Lombard’s UFC debut at UFC 149, but considering that Tim Boetsch did not look all that much more impressive in victory, we should give the former Bellator middleweight champion a little bit of slack.
Besides, Jake Shields’ UFC 121 “win” over Martin Kampmann provided a way worse debut for a former middleweight champion.
At least Lombard and the “conservative” performance he displayed showcased plenty of what caused people to call for Lombard’s move to the UFC. He only gets knocked because he put on a more tactical performance than the Lombard most fans know and remember.
So why would Lombard, the Cuban-Australian knockout artist and former Judo Olympian, fare any better with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu machine Rousimar Palhares, who recently lost to Alan Belcher?
For a multitude of reasons, Lombard fares better than Palhares on any given night, even if he opts to not use his Judo, and truthfully, he should not use his Judo at all against the leg-lock master because doing so will set himself up for a quick submission loss.
That said, Palhares’ past history against anyone with heavy hands, good takedown defense and/or submission defense stand predominantly above all other reasons relevant to why Lombard will knock out Palhares. Much as one can like Palhares, he historically demonstrates bizarre episodes of either shutting down unexpectedly or exhibiting some sort of strangeness against guys not all that different from Lombard.
Remember, Belcher defended multiple leg-lock attempts before he finished Palhares, and once Palhares could not find a leg, he basically handed Belcher the fight. Also, let’s not forget how Palhares accused Nate Marquardt of greasing his leg before he got finished by Marquardt.
Expect the same with Lombard. Palhares provides the type of game needed to outwork and outclass Lombard without necessarily finishing him, but once he finds out how tough a time he will have getting Lombard to the ground, he will shut down, thus giving Lombard the chance to make the statement he’s been waiting to make since signing with the UFC.