Both fighters will ostensibly be fighting for their jobs when they step into the Octagon for their showdown in October.
Lombard came into the UFC riding a 25-fight unbeaten streak and seemed well on his way to securing a title shot. However, since his signing, “Lightning” has not met expectations by going 1-2 at middleweight. He dropped close decisions to Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami.
Marquardt has also hit a rough patch in his MMA career. The one-time middleweight contender was cut from the UFC in 2011 but re-emerged in Strikeforce a year later. Marquardt knocked out Tyron Woodley to claim the vacant welterweight title; however, he has lost his last two fights including a first-round KO to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158.
Here is the head-to-toe breakdown of two fighters not only trying to hang onto their roster spot but also looking to make a statement in the crowded welterweight division.
All statistics were obtained via Fightmetric.
Lombard is a striker who relies on his boxing and one-punch knockout power. More than half of his 32 victories have come via knockout.
Lombard only has a 39 percent striking accuracy, but when he connects, it's usually goodnight for his opponents. He is particularly active on the feet throwing punches in bunches but is never careless.
His significant strike defense is close to 50 percent, and he has yet to be knocked out in his mixed martial arts career.
However, the fact that his offensive attack is primarily boxing-centric limits his overall effectiveness in the stand-up. It would serve him well to take a page out of Tarec Saffiedine’s book and use leg kicks to chop down Marquardt.
Marquardt is no slouch in the stand-up department either, utilizing a more diversified attack of kickboxing and Muay Thai. He has racked up nine career knockouts including KOs over Woodley, Martin Kampmann and Demian Maia.
He has only been knocked out twice in more than 46 professional fights, with one of those finishes coming at the hands of former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.
Marquardt has a higher overall striking accuracy at 49 percent and a similar strike defense, but he has been getting lit up in has last few fights.
Ellenberger knocked him out. Saffiedine brutalized him with leg kicks for five rounds. Even in his win over Woodley, Marquardt ate more total strikes and was staggered on a couple of occasions.
Lombard is a fourth-degree black belt in judo. He represented Cuba in the sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Even with those credentials, Lombard musters little more than one takedown a fight and is only successful 38 percent of time. Those numbers are not necessarily indicative of his inability to secure takedowns but rather an over-reliance on his stand-up.
Lombard is better statistically when it comes to takedown defense, fending off 3-of-4 takedown attempts.
In Lombard's three UFC appearances, his ground game has been hit-and-miss. He stuffed all nine of Boetsch’s takedowns and was able to drag “The Barbarian” to the mat twice, but he failed to capitalize on the position.
At UFC on Fuel TV 8, Lombard landed almost two times as many total strikes (109-65) as Okami; however, “Thunder” was able to complete 3-of-5 takedowns.
In each case, Lombard ended up on the wrong side of a split decision.
Marquardt has a much higher takedown accuracy (59 percent) than Lombard and an almost identical takedown defense (73 percent).
On average, Marquardt shoots for 2.34 takedowns per fight; however, when he’s getting worked in the stand-up, he attempts more. In his fight with Saffiedine, Marquardt tried to take it to the ground 10 times but was only successful once.
Marquardt will have to do a lot better than that if he wants to beat Lombard. Takedowns and controlling the action on the ground will be the linchpin of a Marquardt victory.
Lombard has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu but is not known for his submission work. He does have seven submission wins to his credit; however, two of them were the result of tapouts due to injury.
“Lightning” last submitted Jesse Taylor via heel hook at AFC 2 to win that promotion’s inaugural middleweight strap back in 2011.
As an Olympic-level judoka, Lombard definitely has the ability to get the fight to the mat. Still, he prefers to use ground-and-pound to get the finish as opposed to working for a submission.
Lombard averages less than one submission attempt (0.71) per 15-minute fight. He has yet to even go for a submission in any of his three UFC bouts.
Marquardt is a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Murgel. Of his 32 victories, 15 have come by way of submission; however, the last opponent he submitted was Jeremy Horn way back at UFC 81 in 2008.
And the last time Marquardt was forced to submit was in a 2003 fight against Ricardo Almeida. He lost the Pancrase middleweight title via guillotine choke late in the first round.
On average, Marquardt attempts more submissions per fight (1.21) than Lombard. While he is slightly more adept when it comes to the submission game, it remains unlikely that the fight will be decided in this manner.
Lombard's X-Factor: Making the cut to 171
Lombard has fought his entire career at either light heavyweight or middleweight and walks around between bouts at a hefty 205.
He initially downplayed his move to welterweight, writing it off as impossible based on his height and muscular physique. He has since hired nutritionist Mike Dolce to monitor his transition to a more trim 170.
Even if Lombard makes the cut properly, there is no guarantee that it won’t adversely affect his in-cage performance.
Marquardt's X-Factor: Avoiding Lombard's power early
Marquardt will have to avoid Lombard’s power in the first round. “Lightning” will inevitably be hunting for the knockout early.
Only three of Lombard’s 18 knockout victories have come outside the first round. If Marquardt can survive the opening five minutes, then his chances of success rise exponentially.
The similarities between these two fighters are uncanny.
On paper, Lombard and Marquardt are evenly matched. The differences in height, reach and age are negligible. They've both competed at middleweight. And their Fightmetric numbers are virtually identical.
At the end of the day, the biggest determining factor will be how well Lombard handles the move down to welterweight.
Ultimately, this weight cut will prove to be his undoing. Lombard will come out strong, but his knockout power will be diminished. As the fight progresses, his cardio will falter, and Marquardt will utilize takedowns to score points.
As long as he can survive Lombard’s early onslaught, Marquardt should be able to do enough to earn a decision and his first UFC win in over two years.
Prediction: Marquardt via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)