Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami looked awesome during their last outings, defeating Rousimar Palhares and Alan Belcher respectively.
“Thunder” and “Lightning” are now set to test their skills against one another at “UFC on Fuel TV 8,” scheduled for March 3, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Obviously the winner of their bout will take a giant step towards the UFC’s middleweight title.
Considered the best middleweight outside the Ultimate Fighting Championship for years, Lombard didn’t live up to the hype during his UFC debut, losing to Tim Boetsch at UFC 149. Many MMA fans (myself included) scored the fight in Lombard’s favor but the Octagon-side judges felt Boetsch was the better man.
Frustrated with his performance against Boetsch, Lombard sent out a strong message against Palhares at “UFC on FX 6,” making the Brazilian look like a C-level fighter.
Like Lombard, Okami also lost a fight he should have won to Boetsch. However, unlike Hector, the judges didn’t have anything to do with it, as “The Barbarian” hurt Yushin with a vicious salvo of punches during the third round, after losing the first two rounds of their UFC 144 encounter.
Interestingly enough, even though Yushin was knocked out cold by Boetsch — while one could easily argue that Lombard was robbed — he was a lot more dominant during his fight against The Barbarian.
For Lombard, a fight against Yushin will be a huge test, as it’ll prove once and for all that he’s good enough to compete with the best middleweights in the UFC. After all, Okami was the number contender in the UFC’s middleweight division in 2011.
Lombard will have the advantage in the striking department, but it’s hard to tell how well he’ll do against Yushin grappling wise. Even though Lombard’s physique is a lot more imposing, Okami is as strong as it gets at 185-pounds, and the Japanese MMA fighter is a solid wrestler.
Okami will also be motivated to win in his native Japan, considering the fact he lost to Boetsch the last time he fought at home.
Okami vs. Lombard has a lot of potential for fireworks, and I for one can’t wait to watch these two get it on.
Other notable fights scheduled for UFC on Fuel TV 8 include: Diego Sanchez vs. Takanori Gomi, Brian Stann vs. Wanderlei Silva, and Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt.