Thursday, December 13, 2012
Lombard hoping to live up to his own hype
By Franklin McNeil
Middleweight Hector Lombard, right, is preparing Friday to "show UFC fans what I'm all about."
This time around, former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard promises there will be no excuses.
After losing a split decision to Tim Boetsch in his UFC debut on July 21, Lombard said that he had suffered a fractured sternum while preparing for the bout.
No one knows for sure how much the injury hindered Lombard's performance that night, but he did not exhibit the explosive punching power or aggression that helped him put together a 25-fight win streak.
But when Lombard (31-3-1, 1 NC) makes his second appearance inside the Octagon, this time against Rousimar Palhares, he won't have any physical ailments and plans to give UFC fans something to remember.
Lombard and Palhares meet Friday night (FX, 9 p.m. ET) in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
"I'm going to be good for this fight -- fully healthy," Lombard told ESPN.com. "I'm going to win this fight by knockout. There will be no excuses.
"I want to be the best and I have to start with this fight. I have to get my win streak back."
Lombard also stressed the importance of impressing his UFC bosses. His fight with Boetsch is one everybody would like to forget.
The bout lacked excitement as neither fighter showed a willingness take chances on offense. And with Lombard entering the UFC to tons of hype, he believes it's time to prove to UFC decision-makers that signing him to a multi-fight contract was a solid investment.
Lombard does not want to risk being released by the promotion.
"This fight is important because I want to keep my job and UFC is the place I want to be for a long time," Lombard said. "I don't want to go anywhere else."
As for his opponent, Lombard is aware of Palhares' submission skills but he isn't showing any sign of worry.
"I have to keep my eye on his ground game," Lombard said. "Besides that there isn't any other part of his game that I have to be concerned about. I will be in the cage with a guy not many people want to fight. This is an opportunity to show UFC fans what I'm all about."
Lombard's confidence is likely bolstered by Palhares' recent showing inside the Octagon.
Despite holding a record of 14-4, Palhares was knocked out in the first round in each of his last two defeats, including his most recent fight against Alan Belcher in May.
Seventeen of Lombard's wins have come via knockout.