UFC 171 fight card primer: Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents its primer coverage for all 13 fights from tonight's UFC 171 in Dallas, Texas. Here, we look at the first of three main card welterweight bouts: Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard.

Jake Shields (29-6-1, 1 NC MMA; 4-2, 1 NC UFC) was the former Strikeforce middleweight champion. Hector Lombard (33-4-1, 1 NC MMA; 2-2 UFC) was Bellator's former middleweight champ. Now they're both in the UFC with Shields, better known for his welterweight success, is looking for his 2nd UFC title shot, while Lombard is trying to make it 2-for-2 at 170 lbs and further his case for a title fight. It's the first of 3 huge main card welterweight bouts on a great UFC 171 show in Dallas, TX.

About a year ago, these two were considered "busts". Now Shields is once again a top 10 fighter at 170 lbs and Lombard looked outstanding in his new weight class. The UFC 171 main card airs live on PPV at 10 PM ET, with prelims on Fox Sports 2 (TWO) at 8 PM ET.

How do these two stack up?

Shields: 35 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
Lombard: 36 years old | 5'9" | 71" reach

How have these two done lately?

Shields: W - Demian Maia (SD) | W - Tyron Woodley (SD) | NC - Ed Herman
Lombard: W - Nate Marquardt (KO) | L - Yushin Okami (SD) | W - Rousimar Palhares (KO)

How did these two get here?

Shields' no contest with Ed Herman prompted both a suspension (for what substance we don't know) and a move back to welterweight, where he eked out a win over Tyron Woodley before an upset win of Demian Maia in Brazil last October. Both fights ended in split decisions, and debatable ones at that, but he keeps winning and hasn't lost at welterweight since the KO to Jake Ellenberger in 2011. He's completely outmatched on the feet but could make things very interesting if he can get Hector Lombard down.

Lombard was the UFC's big 2012 purchase from Bellator, and he was supposed to be an instant middleweight contender. It didn't pan out that way, with Lombard losing 2 of 3 fights in boring fashion. The Cuban judoka went to welterweight last year and violently KO'd Nate Marquardt, rekindling the hope and excitement that he brought to the table based on his wins in Bellator.

Why should you care?

The winner of this is firmly in line for a shot at the title. Yes, for all of the flak they've been given, one of these two could be that much closer to competing for a UFC belt.

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