On a card riddled with massive cuts, bloody knockouts and one-sided beatdowns, there may not have been a more deserving winner than Hector Lombard.
Over the past 15 months, the former Bellator standout has struggled to produce relevant in-cage action following grueling weight cuts, debilitating injuries and failed game plans.
But after looking like a true welterweight at the weigh-ins and looking even more dangerous when the cage door shut Saturday night at UFC 166, it seems as if the real "Lightning" has finally arrived.
Here's three fights the Cuban southpaw should take next following his quick display of violence opposite an overwhelmed and over-the-hill Nate Marquardt.
The Dane has now tasted brutal defeat in back-to-back marquee welterweight fights. He's struggled to gain the upper hand in either fight opposite Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit, but that doesn't necessarily take away from his overall prowess.
Kampmann is still one of the bigger names in the division and a handful for any fighter. He isn't quite a gatekeeper yet, but Lombard's heavy hands could eventually make him one.
If the Cuban wants to take a step up in competition and test the waters against a top-10 opponent, then "The Hitman" is the perfect target.
Hopefully Lombard would pay attention to Kampmann's grappling skills and wouldn't try to out-power the former top contender at every turn.
This is a matchup made in fan heaven. Like Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown or Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez, this fight would have fireworks written all over it.
And what would make it even more special and worthwhile is the fact that it makes sense. Ellenberger is coming off a disappointing and uneventful loss to Rory MacDonald, while Lombard is sniffing the division's top 10.
It'd almost be a crime not to pin these two juggernauts against each other at this point in their careers. The action that would ensue would be so explosive and uncontrollable that a retractable roof-supporting venue would be the only option.
This, of course, is assuming that Ellenberger can punch his way past Tarec Saffiedine in January.
Winner of Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley
Both Koscheck and Woodley would be smart adversaries for Lombard to test his raw innate strength against next.
On one hand, you have Koscheck, a former title contender whose name alone would launch Lombard straight to the top of the welterweight crop heap.
On the other hand, you have Woodley, a former Strikeforce standout who possesses the hunger and overall skill set to make any bout with any welterweight a potential Fight of the Night candidate.
Koscheck would obviously be a better draw if he wins, but Woodley's debut split-decision loss opposite Jake Shields isn't look all that disappointing following Shields' win over the red-hot Demian Maia.
In any case, the UFC should pick its spots with Lombard and give him a good opportunity to make a run at a top contender spot. Not for nothing, but the guy is a high-pace, high-caliber knockout artist who has unparalleled upside.
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