The X Factor
This Saturday will answer a lot of questions in the case of Hector Lombard. The Cuban-born KO artist has easily been the most dominant fighter in the history of Bellator’s promotion, but his reputation has been greatly built with the shredded aluminum remains of many a crushed can. The last opponent he faced with even the slightest chance of beating him was Alexander Shlemenko, who did everything but give Bjorn Rebney a reacharound in the two years since to receive the rematch he rightfully earned.
Based purely on wins over relative competition, Lombard would not deserve a shot even if he were to beat Boetsch, but if you think important wins are the only determining factor in the process of choosing a number one contender, then we’d like to familiarize you with the story of Brock Lesnar.
The fact is, fans have been clamoring for some time that Lombard is the last remaining challenger to Silva’s throne who stands a decent chance of winning, and his current 20 (!) fight win streak sure doesn’t detract from that. If he does defeat Boetsch, we would be neither surprised nor upset to see him get a title shot, but the perfect scenario would see him defeat Boetsch and face the division’s new top dog for a true spot above them all…
The Top Dog
You can call it hopping on the bandwagon, the hype train, or whatever form of metaphorical fanboy transportation you want, but it would be hard to convince us that anyone stands above Chris Weidman in terms of contendership. His win over Mark Munoz, who had won 7 of his last 8, was not only impressive, it was downright shocking. Not just for the brutal way he finished it, but for the way he was able to essentially ragdoll a decorated wrestler like Munoz en route to that finish. As any MMA commentator/journalist/blogger will tell you, Chael Sonnen laid out the one and only way to beat Anderson Silva: through a steady diet of wrestling and GnP. Weidman proved at UFC on FUEL 4 that he can probably outgrapple just about anyone, and throw a decent punch or two in the meantime. Sonnen even stated that Weidman was the top guy at 185, himself included, so what other endorsement could you possibly need?
With all of that being said, we still don’t think Weidman should dubbed the number one contender just yet. Despite knocking Munoz out with that slick standing elbow, Weidman still has some noticeable holes in his standup game, and could use a little more time to round them out before he faces the Spider.
Therefore, if Hector Lombard utterly destroys Tim Boetsch on Saturday (which he is favored to do) and is able to walk away injury free, the best possible scenario would be to match these two up for a number one contender bout. In the meantime, you have the Belcher/Belfort and Stann/Bisping matchups to help trim some of the fat, and Boetsch/Sonnen to bring up the rear, and voila, the division goes from extreme hoarders to Extreme Home Makeover in a couple of months. And if Boetsch defeats Lombard, have him face Weidman, which will be a perfect test of both men’s weak points before their final step up.
You see, Potato Nation, figuring out the conundrum at 185 isn’t exactly brain surgery. It all makes sense when you look at it right. You gotta like, stand back from it, you know?
Agree or disagree?