The attention of MMA is primarily focused on the UFC, but to exclude Bellator and its fighters out of the picture is a mistake. Bellator plays a role in being the next and seemingly only true competition for the UFC since Zuffa decided to buy Strikeforce. Now with UFC at the helm, the MMA game is trying to play catch-up.
In Bellator, there is no one with a more impressive run than middleweight champion, Hector Lombard. What is interesting about this, is that the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is also revered as one of the best, and sets his own records in the sport.
Hector Lombard is riding a 24-fight winning streak, the most impressive currently in the sport. His only holdup was a draw in July of 2007, but his last loss was to Gerard Mousasi in November of 2006. Currently his record is 31-2-1-1, 24 of those wins coming by finish.
Lombard recently squared off against Trevor Prangley at Bellator 58, winning in a dominant fashion via TKO in the second round. The fight was not a title defense, since it was a catchweight bout, but still proved that a little more weight didn’t faze the current champ.
Watching Lombard’s systematic destruction of Prangley seemed almost reminiscent of watching Anderson Silva in some of his past fights. Always blankly staring into the chest of their opponents, both Silva and Lombard have a great ability to wait and counter. When they strike, it is precise and deadly, and never uncontrolled.
With such an impressive streak of wins, and by dominant fashion, Lombard is another name that many want to see join the ranks in the UFC. Not only that, but he'd add a little more flavor to the bland-tasting 185 division as it has been made out to be by fans and critics alike.
Lombard is a fighter who looks like he does nothing but work out, whereas Silva looks like they grabbed him off the street in Brazil and threw a suit on him. The two are physically different, but their athleticism speaks true to their dangerous nature.
Lombard has some tools that help him in a fight against someone like “The Spider,” however. Lombard has a rich background in judo, a style primarily used in MMA to get your opponent on the ground. While the style does not require great strength, but rather the opponent’s own weight, Lombard’s physical strength only makes him more effective at it.
Not only his judo, but he has training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. While not his main weapon of choice, Hector is very versed in his ground game and holds a black belt. His camp is American Top Team, one of the best camps in the country. ATT plays host to plethora of big-name and successful fighters, and boasts some of the greatest ground coaches in the game.
His ability to stand and strike as well as take the fight to the ground from close quarters is a dangerous combination when also paired with a strong BJJ game. Silva's heel has been submissions and wrestling, and Lombard poses a well-rounded challenge for him.
Like Silva, Lombard can fight at 185 or at 205. Middleweight is where he has established a home, and when MMA fans think of that particular division, Anderson Silva comes to mind.
The biggest factor is how would Lombard do once in the UFC? The most significant criticism of other promotions and their fighters is that they have not fought anyone of great caliber. This is all subjective, but generally fighters who come to the UFC typically have a rough time getting adjusted. The learning curve seems greater once in the Octagon for many.
Lombard in the UFC proves a very interesting concept, but how he would stack up against fighters like Chael Sonnen, Munoz, Bisping or Miller is yet to be seen. It is unfortunate that because of the organization he fights in, his wins and abilities are not given due credit all the time, but his continued dominance is hard to ignore these days.
Silva has his own issues in the UFC to worry about, and if and when Lombard makes it over, Silva may not be champion or fighting any longer. Time will tell, but for now, the fantasy matchup of the two greatest middleweights in MMA is a very exciting prospect.