Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that its reigning middleweight champion, Hector Lombard, will fight a non-title “Super Fight” against former WEC Champion Paulo Filho at Bellator 18.
The fight will take place Thursday, May 13, and will be televised live on Fox Sports Net and on highlight shows the following Saturday night, May 15, on NBC and Telemundo. The venue for the event will be announced in the coming days.
This is the third Super Fight matchup to be announced by Bellator, along with the May 6th bout between current Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and Josh Neer and the May 20th matchup of Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Soto and Diego “The Octopus” Saraiva.
Filho, who boasts a career record of 19-1, was the consensus No. 2-ranked middleweight in the world as recently as 14 months ago when he was the reigning WEC Middleweight Champion. He also has a perfect 7-0 record as a competitor in the PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. Recently, Filho has been busy winning three strait fights in the last eight months.
Lombard, 23-2, is a judo black belt who competed for the Cuban National Team during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He defeated Virgil Lozano, Damien Stelly and Jared Hess to win the first-ever Bellator Middleweight Championship belt last June and is a perfect 3-0 since.
“Our Super Fights are designed to test our champions against the best available fighters, said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Paulo’s won three fights in the last 8 months including an impressive submission victory over Melvin Manhoef in DREAM in July. When Paulo’s on his game, he is one of the most dangerous middleweights in the world. Just over a year ago he was ranked as one of the top 185 pounders on earth. Now, he’s back and winning frequently. And, whereas other top middleweights wanted nothing to do with Hector Lombard, Paulo and his team agreed to take this fight. As I have said frequently, I believe Hector Lombard is one of the top middleweights in the world and this fight could be a great test for Hector and a great fight for MMA fans.”
Lombard, who is currently training with American Top Team in Miami, said he’s looking forward to getting back in the cage.
“I think it’s a great fight for me,” he said. “Paulo is a big name in MMA and he’s a former champion, so it will be champion versus champion. I think I match up really well with him both on my feet and on the ground.”
The question still remains if Paulo Fihlo will show up or if he'll no-show again . Forcing his mother to come up with another lame cover story while he's off getting his Mike Tyson-esque facial tattoo.
We'll see—it's definitely a gamble from the usually smart team at Bellator. Fihlo is still a name in MMA, despite mental issues and accusations of PED use that have plagued him since his debut in the WEC in 2007.
It's a good matchup, but I'll believe it's actually going to happen when he gets in the cage.