Hector Lombard and the 10 Most Disappointing UFC Debuts
At UFC 149, fans eagerly anticipated the debut of longtime Bellator champion Hector Lombard. Riding an enormous wave of momentum, Lombard was a 4:1 betting favorite over rising contender Tim Boetsch on some sites.
When fight night arrived, the Cuban judo star was flat footed and hesitant to get off on his strikes. Although a poll of B/R MMA readers indicates 53 percent of you disagree with the result, Lombard lost the fight via split decision.
Regardless of who you think won the fight, Lombard's performance was universally underwhelming. Here is a look at 10 of the most disappointing UFC debuts.
Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping have all shown us how far an Ultimate Fighter winner can progress in the UFC.
Amir Sadollah apparently didn't get the memo, as the Virginia native lost his post-show debut in only 29 seconds.
Some call the stoppage controversial, as Sadollah stopped protecting his face only so he could push off of the ground and return to his feet, but Johny Hendricks was awarded the TKO victory anyway.
Although not the first TUF winner to lose in his first fight after the tournament, Sadollah is the only one to lose faster than it takes to cook a Pop-Tart.
Anthony Pettis introduced himself to the world in his WEC lightweight title fight against Benson Henderson. Unleashing his infamous "Showtime Kick" en route to strapping championship gold around his waist, the UFC debut of Pettis was hotly anticipated.
Originally promised a title shot in his promotional debut, Pettis opted to stay active instead of waiting for the Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard mess to sort itself out.
Joe Silva matched up Pettis with the repeat Fight of the Year champion Clay Guida. It was a bout that was sure to thrill.
Instead, Guida used a wrestling-centric attack and ground out a decision in a fight where Pettis was able to get off little offense.
Few stars had more hype coming into the UFC than Jake Shields.
With wins over Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit to his credit, it was well established that the Strikeforce middleweight champion was one of the best fighters in the world.
Shields' Strikeforce contract expired after the bout with Hendo, and he promptly took the opportunity leave for greener, UFC-scented pastures.
In the his debut, Shields dropped to welterweight and challenged the crafty, Danish veteran, Martin Kampmann. The fight saw momentum alternate throughout the match, and Shields looked drained after the early part of the contest.
Although he would win a split decision, FightMetric concluded that the contest should have been a draw, while many fans feel as if Kampmann was the proper victor.
From a fighter who went on to challenge for another world title, we expected better.
The Texas Crazy Horse was a longtime veteran with the PRIDE organization, and a bit of an internet star after the New Year's Eve kiss heard 'round the world.
Making his UFC debut against Jake O'Brien, fans saw Heath Herring on the wrong end of a fairly one-sided decision.
Herring commented on his Fight Night 8 bout with the Baltimore Sun.
I think I learned a lot at that fight. I had to realize that the UFC isn't the same organization as what I was used to fighting [for] in Japan. And the end result was that I came up short on the judges' cards. And that's what happens sometimes. You start playing a new game with little bit different rules -- sometimes those new rules will kind of catch ya.
Alternating losses and wins through his five-fight UFC tenure, Herring would retire from the sport after a 2008 thrashing at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson made his name on the internet, and started his MMA career under the Elite XC banner. However, he knew that to be taken seriously as a mixed martial artist, he would need to win fights in the UFC.
UFC President Dana White never seemed interested in signing Ferguson to a contract. He did offer a slot in The Ultimate Fighter house if Slice was willing to take his chances.
After a season on the show (and a first-round exit at the hands of Roy Nelson), Slice was offered a catchweight fight against dangerous slugger Houston Alexander. It was a contest where fight fans would be treated to a standup affair and a vicious knockout.
Instead, two aged fighters fought timidly until they reached the point of exhaustion. Kimbo huffed and puffed his way to a unanimous decision victory, but it was a disappointing affair to say the least.
Yet another example of a fighter who arrives to the UFC in tentative fashion, Hector Lombard made his UFC debut at UFC 149 against Tim Boetsch.
Slow to the punch, Lombard was flat footed and lacked aggression throughout the contest. Although he hurt Boetsch with a body kick in the second round, he was unable to follow up with enough offense to be worthwhile.
While some are claiming that the Cuban star folded under the pressure of the big stage, I maintain my theory that Lombard entered the contest under the weather. He walked out to the cage wearing four layers of clothes, and didn't seem to have any energy from the get-go.
In any event, Lombard looked terrible in his debut, and many would agree that neither fighter that night belongs in the title scene.
Former WWE champion Brock Lesnar moving to the UFC was one of the hottest stories in sports. Not only did Lesnar want to compete in the No. 1 fight organization in the world, but he wanted to fight the best right off the bat.
Standing across the cage from Lesnar in his promotional debut was grappling specialist and former UFC champion Frank Mir.
Trying to end the bout quickly, the Minnesota native took Mir to the canvas and started to pound away with hammer fists. The bout was stood up for a strike to the back of the head, but the two quickly returned to this position.
Lesnar rose to his feet, and Mir identified a flaw in his opponent's stance. Locking in a kneebar, Lesnar's debut fight saw him submitted in only 90 seconds.
While the wrestler-turned-fighter would eventually avenge this loss and win the UFC heavyweight championship for himself, the debut itself left something to be desired.
Few people expected that Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva would defeat Cain Velasquez at UFC 146, but nobody expected the one-sided bloodbath that occurred.
Originally slated to debut against Roy Nelson, the Alistair Overeem scandal caused a shakeup in the matchmaking, and Silva was paired against the former UFC champion instead.
Within seconds of the bout's opening, Silva was on his back and eating nasty ground and pound at the hands of a former-champion with something to prove. A gash on the giant's forehead nearly stopped the fight, but the cageside doctor allowed the contest to continue.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian star, he didn't do any better after the restart, and was TKO'd less than four minutes into the first round.
Maybe Rameau Sokoudjou is an upset artist. Perhaps he wasn't good enough to deal with the stars in the UFC light-heavyweight division. However, after scoring first-round knockouts over PRIDE notables Lil Nog and Ricardo Arona, there was a lot of hype behind The African Assassin's debut.
Given the unfortunate assignment of facing Lyoto Machida in his promotional debut, Sokoudjou saw his UFC 79 bout stopped after falling prey to an arm-triangle choke in the second round.
Putting together an 8-8 record since this fight, Sokoudjou is a dangerous fighter who just couldn't live up to the hype of his amazing upsets.
Once considered to be the best middleweight (read: light-heavyweight) in PRIDE FC, Mauricio Rua made his UFC debut in what was considered to be a gimme fight against Ultimate Fighter winner Forrest Griffin.
Leading into the bout, the only loss in Shogun's past 13 fights came in a freak accident where his arm broke during a takedown. Meanwhile, Griffin had recently been stopped at the hands of Keith Jardine in the first round of their UFC 66 battle.
The world-ranked Shogun was widely expected to start off his UFC career with a bang, but instead had difficulties with the TUF winner, and became exhausted early on.
In the third round, Griffin secured a rear-naked choke to spoil the debut of a man considered to be one of the top light-heavyweights in the world.
Things didn't work out all bad for Shogun, as he would go on to knock out Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida, and avenge his loss to Griffin during his UFC run.
On Saturday night, the former champion takes on Brandon Vera in the main event of UFC on Fox 4. Tune in to find out where the next step in Shogun's career will land.