Hector Lombard continued his climb up the welterweight rankings with a win over Josh Burkman, although it took the aggressive striker a lot longer than most expected.
Lombard (35-4-1, 1 NC) entered the fight on Saturday as a -1200 favorite over Burkman — the largest of any fighter on the entire UFC 182 card.
Known for his blitzing, high-octane style early, Lombard fought a more measured attack in the opening round and ended up on the wrong end of some strong counters from Burkman, who showed no fear of the former middleweight’s power.
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Lombard came storming out in the second round and started to accumulate damage on Burkman as he continuously backed up to the cage and invited the Cuban to throw hands with him.
As the final round started, Lombard was still plodding forward, swinging with big, wild punches and Burkman was forced to put his hands up to defend after walking around most of the fight with his arms by his sides.
The biggest concern for Lombard going into the fight was a questionable gas tank, but as his punches added up it was Burkman sucking wind as the time ticked away. Burkman (27-11) survived until the final bell, showing an incredible amount of toughness, but the result of a loss was still the same.
Lombard stated after the win that he tried to pick his shots, which may account for his more reserved approach. With a 3-0 record in the division, Lombard now awaits his next fight.
Prior to Saturday night, there was a possibility that Lombard might step in to face Matt Brown on February 14 at UFC Fight Night in Broomfield, Colo., but after going the full three rounds at UFC 182 it’s hard to see him competing again so soon.