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Does Hector Lombard deserve a Middleweight Title shot with a win over Tim Boetsch? Why or why not?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
It's kind of hard to say Renan Barao's 29 fight undefeated streak is more worthy of a title shot at bantamweight than Hector Lombard's 25 fight unbeaten streak. Of course, bantamweight is a different can of worms than middleweight, but I'm not trying to say there's an exact parallel here, either. If Hector Lombard comes out on Saturday night and just freaking murderizes Tim Boetsch, that may be enough to push him ahead of Chris Weidman. I think the UFC wants to make the Lombard fight with Anderson Silva, at least they did until Chris Weidman crushified Mark Munoz in front of 4000 people in San Jose and an MTV2-level at-home audience. If Lombard defeats Boetsch in a dull fight, then at the very least Chris Weidman will catapult Hector Lombard.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think that if Lombard wins, he either should get a straight shot at Anderson Silva or, if Rashad Evans makes the move to middleweight, the two of them should fight for the title shot. If Rashad doesn't make the move to middleweight, though, I think that Lombard should get the next shot against Silva.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Well, because of the lack of depth name wise and talent alike in the middleweight division, it almost makes sense for Hector Lombard to rocket up the ranks for a title fight. There is not necessarily any other top fighter in the division that can be ready to face Silva, and Lombard is an easy choice given the hype behind his debut in the UFC, similar to Rampage Jackson's in 2007. Whether its a popular decision or not, putting Lombard in a title fight (if he defeats Boetsch) is a smart move.
CHRIS PARK, MMATORCH UK SPECIALIST
I think from a marketing point of view Lombard will no doubt be given the next title shot should he defeat Tim Boetsch. While some question the calibre of the twenty something fighters he has build his undefeated on; a debut victory over Boetsch should carry some weight given that he just took out a former title challenger in Yushin Okami.
Had Michael Bisping stayed healthy and defeated Boetsch himself many would be calling for him to get the shot - including myself - so what's good for the goose... Fair point? With that said I believe Lombard will both get and deserve to get the title shot should he see off a very game Tim Boetsch. @MMATorchUK
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
As the UFC and Dana White have proven time and time again, they do not care who deserves the title shot the most. They are a business, and they are out to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time. After Lombard wins against Boetsch, and he will knock him out in devastating fashion, they will indeed give him a title shot. I think he has a decent chance of catching Anderson Silva with his big power. He is skilled enough to stay out of danger long enough to make this happen. Honestly, who else is available to fight Anderson Silva in the
middleweight division today?
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
It really depends on how you look at his record. He's a dominant champion from what is essentially considered the minor leagues. It could go one of two ways: he could prove the nay sayers right by losing right off the bat or he could be a standout star as many are hoping for. One thing is for sure, he's on a whole new playing field now and the competition is well above anyone he's fought thus far in his career. Boetsch represents a make or break for Lombard as he's either going to show us that he really is the next big star at 185 or he's going to let it be known that your ability to dominate in Bellator doesn't transfer well to the UFC.
GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Absolutely not. Even with a win over Tim Boetsch, name one guy on his resume who was anywhere near a top contender? Exactly. In my eyes, Hector Lombard has proven he's a good outside-the-UFC competitor, but has proven absolutely nothing against true legitimate top competition. With a win over Boetsch, I still believe a win over Chael Sonnen and/or Chris Weidman before even dreaming of fighting the greatest fighter of all time. It would not end well at all for Hector.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
Absoloutely not, nix, no way Jose, not by any means... Any more ways to say no without swearing? I've heard (and got bored of reading) valid reasons why Michael Bisping doesn't deserve a title shot because he hasn't beat anyone relevant. Well the same theory applies to Lombard, and then some. It's all well and good having an undefeated streak going back to 1946 or whatever it is, but it's only relevant if your opponents are also credible world class talents.
A win over Tim Boetsch doesn't earn instant contention either. Yes he beat Yushin Okami at UFC 144, but it's also worth noting that he was losing by a country mile prior to the comeback TKO. If Lombard wins on Saturday night, give him Vitor Belfort next, and then we'll discuss a title shot. Until that happens, and for the sake of entertainment, let's just hope he actually lives up to the hype and doesn't flop like Jorge Santiago did.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I really don't understand why people are so against the idea of Lombard coming in, beating a top ten fighter and getting a title shot. Hector Lombard was a champion in another organization and is riding an absurd winning streak. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the quality of his competition, if he goes out and blows up Tim Boestch in devastating fashion, I don't think he'd have anything more to prove.
Who really would be ahead of him at that point? Chris Weidman doesn't even have ten fights, Michael Bisping is coming off a loss, Brian Stann is riding a mighty one-fight winning streak and Alan Belcher could still use another fight to put him over the top.
If Lombard adds Boetsch to his highlight reel, there isn't another fighter more deserving of a shot at Anderson Silva.
[Hector Lombard photo (c) Henry Dziekan III]
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