When we last left our heroes...Boetsch has led an interesting career. It takes a unique fighter to garner fan love and adoration so early on your career despite losing to Matt Hamill and Jason Brilz, but Tim has emerged from those "hillbilly judo" roots and evolved into a premier martial artist.
He's had a rough couple of last bouts. First he got his eyes scooped out by Philippou and then lost a tough decision to Mark Munoz. Dolloway is like the antimatter version of Boetsch. A solid mixed martial artist who has garnered nothing but fan hatred.
Dolloway is currently on a two fight winning streak. One over Daniel Sarafian, the other over R.P. McMurphy. It's a must win fight for Boetsch. Not so much for Dolloway.
What both men can do: Boetsch's strength is well, his strength. He's an imposing middleweight who is able to bully his opponents David Heaths style. However, these simplistic characteristics sell his actual skill short. He's an adept grappler, and a solid striker. While he's not at his best from a distance, he's still capable, and in close, he's downright dangerous. Again, see the Okami fight for further clarification.
As for Dolloway, he's still the raw, but talented TUF alumni he was on the show. His striking is ok, but his grappling is better than average. His Peruvian necktie is still one of the better atypical submissions you'll see in the UFC.
What both men can't do: But is the part where Dolloway falls down. He's a fragile fighter. As in, his defense on the feet is porous, and when he gets rattled, he retreats in ways that simply leave him more vulnerable. In other words, this is the worst matchup possible for him. Frankly, I don't see how he wins.
Boetsch's problems are limited to his ability off his back (which he just uses as an excuse to get back on the feet), and against superior, polished strikers. Even though he was winning the fight against Philipou before the eye poke, Philipou was still able to land successfully at a distance with solid fundamentals.
X-Factor: CB's guillotine. He has a knack for scoring them on the fly. Unlike strikers with one punch power, you rarely see submission fighters with a light outs submission ala the recently deceased Rousimar Palhares. It's a nice move to have in your side pocket. And CB has it. Watch for it of Boetsch looks to take this fight to the ground.
Having said that, I think this one is pretty cut and dry. Boetsch scores punches on the feet, and eventually starts pumping oil in the clinch, and down goes the ‘Doberman'.
Prediction: Tim Boetsch by TKO, round 2.
When we last left our heroes...Nate was one of the premier middleweights when he fought there. So much so that it earned him a title fight. Fighters like Marquardt who rely on speed generally don't benefit by moving down in weight, but Nate has acclimated himself well despite having lost his last two.
However, getting knocked out by Jake Ellenberger doesn't prove you're a sham. It just proves you're human because nobody wakes up on command after getting hit with a Dodge pick-up. His loss to Saffiedine just proved that Saffiedine is an incredibly crafty fighter who no one looks good against.
Lombard is in a more precarious spot. He debuted to a split decision loss to Tim Boetsch, destroyed Rousimar Palhares to everyone's retroactive delight, and had a lackluster affair with Yushin Okami. So needless to say, Lombard hasn't turned into the Holy Ghost everyone predicted he would be coming out of Bellator.
Nonetheless, the catch is that he's moving down to welterweight. How will he fair in the transition?
What both men can do: Nate's strength has always come from his right hand. He chambers it like Mayweather; distanced enough from his body that his opponents can rarely successfully predict when he's gonna throw it. He does other things well, but his right hand is what you look for if you're his opponent because he's gonna look to land regardless.
While his grappling is well honed, he's a top position grappler with nasty guillotines and not much else. That's not a knock. He's simply not as good from the bottom.
Lombard lands brutally effective combination punching. With speed and power, there aren't many who will hold up to his raw power while having a punch in the face contest. Which brings us to...
What both men can't do: Both guys hurt the most in the intangible department. Marquardt is not as effective from the bottom, grappling wise, but he's also a bit of a chinny fighter. Even against Thales Leites, he was rocked hard, and that came as much from Leites' punch as it did from Nate's inability to properly set up his strikes.
Lombard's problem is the ole' gas tank. It's what you'd expect out of a guy built like Fantastic Four's The Thing; a point Joe Rogan will be happy to exhaust for the audience. He fades in fights. However, the solution is not to "get better cardio". The solution is to fight more economically. If Lombard learns to do this, watch out. Both of his losses were close, and he had his opponents in trouble.
X-Factor: Hard to tell fight-wise. It's up to Nate's chin I think. He'll be hit at some point; the question is whether or not he can handle Hector's power. This is really what the fight boils down to. Personally I don't think he does.
Prediction: Hector Lombard by TKO, round 1.