by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Jason Lambert came into UFC 68 in pretty much a must win situation in order to be taken seriously in the 205-pound division. Lambert was coming off a knockout loss to Rashad Evans. While losing to Evans isn’t exactly something to be ashamed of, it was imperative for Lambert to put on a good performance. His return fight would be no easy task, as he took on Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Babalu was coming off a TKO loss to Chuck Liddell, but had won every other fight since 2003.
“I gather I was quite the underdog, especially since I got booed at weigh-ins,” said Lambert on MMAWeekly Radio. Babalu came out aggressive and really pressed the action. Babalu took Lambert’s back shortly in the first grader. Most fighters that Babalu has in that position, submits sooner or later, but not Lambert. He fought the submission attempts off for about two minutes. “If you panic when he gets your back, it’s over. That’s one of the positions I put myself in practice because it’s a really bad position.”
Towards the end of the first, Lambert got up and really started taking it to Babalu with effective heavy strikes. At the end of the round, Lambert caught Babalu flush on the chin and almost put him away before time ran out. “It was great to drop him. I figured I almost had him out. I felt him getting weaker. I actually told my corner after the fight, that if I had about ten more seconds, I could have ended it.”
In the second round, Lambert exuded confidence and went right after Babalu. Babalu looked tired and a little wobbled coming out of his corner for the second. Lambert took Babalu down and worked some effective ground and pound. After being stood up by Big John McCarthy, Babalu tried throwing a kick, only to be met by a stiff left hook that knocked out Babalu. “It just landed flush. It was a great, great punch,” said Lambert. “It just shows that all my hard work is going towards something.” Lambert is now the #10 Light Heavyweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings.
With his impressive victory, many people want to know how long he’ll take off before being back in the Octagon. “Maybe two or three years off. Go on a couple of cruises. I don’t know. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”