Hector Lombard blew a lot of the momentum he had coming in as the Bellator middleweight champion, on a massive win streak, and had a boring split decision loss to Tim Boetsch. But a big rebound win over Rousimar Palhares has seemingly righted the ship. Now he stays in the deep water against one of the elite fighters in the division in failed title contender Yushin Okami.
Fight breakdown – Both guys are easy to discuss and have strategies that are pretty easy to figure out; stopping them is entirely different.
Hector Lombard has elite level takedown defense and massive power in his hands. You don’t finish as many guys as he has without having big time power in your hands. He has a pedigree in Judo, having competed for Cuba in that sport, and his game is simple: stand and trade. Getting him down is incredibly tough and he uses a variant on the Chuck Liddell style “sprawl and brawl” style; he has no problem going to the ground if he’s in position to get top control but otherwise you have to stand and throw down with him.
Yushin Okami is a poor man’s Chael Sonnen. He goes for the takedown first, second, third and fourth and if those don’t work he’ll go for another takedown. Okami has underrated stand up but he uses it to set up takedowns. Okami’s style is about grinding top position until he can get a finish or the fight ends.
The fight hinges on whether or not Okami can take him down. If he can take him down, and keep him down, he can grind out a win. Okami has to keep pushing forward and make Lombard fight off his heels. Lombard isn’t nearly as good a fighter when he’s able to dictate the position. Okami has to be aggressive and keep Lombard from settling on his feet. Lombard’s power comes from his ability to plant his feet and move forward. If he’s moving backward or laterally he doesn’t have nearly the power punching game.
Lombard wins if he can keep it standing and out land Okami; Okami’s durable but he’s been cracked enough that he’s able to be finished by the right opponent. He’s a tough out … but Lombard is good enough to record it.
Why It matters – With a win, especially a big KO of a former title contender, Hector Lombard could jump ahead of Chris Weidman for the next shot at Anderson Silva (especially depending on Weidman’s health status). Lombard’s a new face for Silva as opposed to Okami, whom he’s already stopped in dramatic fashion (in Brazil nonetheless). Okami wins and he’s still 2-3 wins from another crack at Silva, most likely.
Prediction – Lombard
Tags: Hector Lombard, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC on Fuel TV 8, Yushin Okami