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UFC middleweight Hector Lombard announces himself as a contender in the UFC

With a brutal crushing first-round TKO victory over the formidable Rousimar Palhares, Hector Lombard has re-introduced himself to UFC fans as a for-real contender.

Matt Roberts

Former Bellator champ Hector Lombard came into the UFC last summer shouldering some heavy expectations. Riding a 25-fight no losses streak since 2006, fans and UFC executives were pumped. Lombard's brutal fistic stylings had everyone hoping for a lot of quick brutal Knock Outs and a quick jump into a title shot with Anderson Silva.

Instead Lombard disappointed in a stale decision loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 149. He later claimed he fought with a broken sternum and many felt he beat Boetsch even if the performance was inarguably uninspired. After that performance, many fans wrote Lombard off as just another "small show" standout who couldn't hang in the big leagues.

Friday at UFC on FX 6, Lombard got a little bit of redemption when he battered the formidable Rousimar "Toquino" Palhares to sleep for a first round TKO win. We've seen that Lombard can definitely man-handle UFC-caliber competition, and for all his flaws, Toquino's resume includes 7 UFC wins. But the question is, did Lombard miss his opportunity to make an immediate impact in the division?

I'd have to say, yes, yes he did.

Since beating Stephan Bonnar in a non-title fight at Light Heavyweight, Middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been mostly trying to talk Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre into a Super Fight, with LHW champ Jon Jones as his fallback.

Meanwhile the MW division has moved on with Chris Weidman, Alan Belcher, Tim Boetsch and Michael Bisping dominating talk of the next title shot.

It would be very interesting to see Lombard welcome the injured Weidman back to the Octagon but don't hold your breath. I expect he'll have to win another couple fights against lower-tier competition to climb his way into contention.