Hector Lombard’s arrival against Tim Boetsch at UFC 149: Faber vs. Barão on Saturday night in Calgary was, if nothing else, supposed to narrow the list of contenders for the next shot at UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
It did nothing of the sort. If anything, it muddied the waters.
Lombard, a former Bellator middleweight champion that hadn’t lost in his 25 prior bouts, was one of the most highly touted arrivals to the UFC in some time. There was obviously a tremendous amount of weight on his shoulders, but that’s what a contender to Anderson Silva should be able to weather.
Boetsch had won all three of his prior middleweight fights coming into this one, and many saw it as his opportunity to prove that he isn’t just a good middleweight, but a legitimate contender.
From the onset, Boetsch kept his distance, moving in and out, throwing one-off punches and kicks, and then circling away.
Lombard, know for his ballistic style, reigned himself in, content to sit back and counter fight for the entirety of the bout.
The ingredients equated to a recipe for a stagnant fight that saw neither man establish his dominance nor lay any claim to a title shot.
Yes, Boetsch did land enough of his pot shots to earn the split decision victory, but just barely. It keeps him undefeated at 4-0 at middleweight, but it did little to endear him to fans or likely to his bosses when it comes time to consider who is next for Anderson Silva.
For Lombard, it put an end to his 25-fight unbeaten streak with little to show for it.