UFC 149: July 21, 2012 Calgary, Alberta, Canada Hector Lombard (-310) Profile: Lombard (31-2-1) will be making his UFC debut as the reigning middleweight world champion with the Bellator Fighting Championships. The 34-year-old Cuban has a fourth-degree black belt in Judo and was originally slated to make his first appearance with the organization at UFC 78, but visa issues prevented that from happening. Lombard is 24-0-1 in his last 25 fights with his only two career losses coming against Akihiro Gono and Gegard Mousasi, both by unanimous decision in the 2006 PRIDE Bushido Welterweight Grand Prix Tournament. However, the only notable opponent Lombard has faced recently is Alexander Shlemenko, resulting in a five-round unanimous decision victory at Bellator 34 on October 28, 2010. Tim Boetsch (+240) Profile: Boetsch (15-4) is in his second stint in the UFC and has been much more successful than the first, posting a 4-1 mark, including 3-0 at middleweight.  The 31-year-old made his UFC debut at UFC 81 back in 2008 and beat David Heath via first-round TKO but lost two of his next three fights.  He then bounced around three different organizations for his next three bouts before returning to the UFC in 2010, when he defeated Todd Brown by unanimous decision at UFC 117 at light heavyweight.  “The Barbarian” proceeded to lose to Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis via submission at UFC 123 before moving down to middleweight.  He won his first two UFC fights at middleweight by unanimous decision against Kendall Grove at UFC 130 and Nick Ring at UFC 135 before knocking out Yushin Okami at UFC 144. Opening MMA Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has installed Lombard as the -310 favorite (bet $310 to win $100) while Boetsch opened as a +240 underdog (bet $100 to win $240) according to the MMA odds. Lombard was originally supposed to fight Brian Stann, the No. 8 middleweight according to the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings. However, a shoulder injury kept Stann from competing, so Boetsch will get his opportunity to face Lombard in his UFC debut after his scheduled opponent at UFC 149 Michael Bisping tore the meniscus in his knee. Boetsch is ranked No. 6 at middleweight while Lombard is No. 13, but that is only because he has yet to prove himself against elite competition. Lombard’s top win came against Alexander Shlemenko in Bellator while Boetsch has already battled more tough fighters in his UFC career. Lombard is a bit of an enigma though and will be putting his incredible winning streak on the line. This will be a tough test for both, and the winner will likely emerge as a Top 5 contender and possibly be next in line for a shot at the middleweight title.


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