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UFC 182 fight card primer: Lombard vs. Burkman plus the rest of the main card

Bloody Elbow presents its fight primer coverage for tonight's UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here, we look at the opening 3 bouts on the PPV main card, including Hector Lombard vs. Josh Burkman.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 182 is hours away from starting, and the anticipation has been building for weeks. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier are the night's main attraction after months worth of verbal venom and physical altercations. Jones will put his light heavyweight belt on the line against the unbeaten Cormier in what is expected to be one of the UFC's biggest bouts in years. The co-main event includes a lightweight showdown between contenders Donald Cerrone and Myles Jury. It's likely that the winner could be just 1 win away from a title shot, if not immediately next in line.

But before we get to the big fights we will concentrate on the other main card action. Welterweight contender Hector Lombard welcomes Josh Burkman back to the UFC, flyweight striker Kyoji Horiguchi makes his PPV main card debut against Louis Gaudinot, and Brad Tavares tries to snap a losing skid by defeating former title challenger Nate Marquardt. The UFC 182 main card begins live at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT exclusively on PPV. Preliminary card bouts precede the PPV with some broadcast on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and the rest streaming on UFC Fight Pass at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.

Hector Lombard (34-4-1, 1 NC MMA; 3-2 UFC) vs. Josh Burkman (27-10 MMA, 5-5 UFC) - Welterweights

Heavily promoted and paid when he left Bellator, Lombard looked every bit the part of a high-profile bust when he started his UFC career 1-2. But the Olympic judoka made the drop to welterweight and has been solid in both fights. "Showeather" -- off-tangent here, but what a horrible nickname -- destroyed Nate Marquardt in 1 round and then overpowered Jake Shields at UFC 171. It's been hard to find an opponent for Lombard, which perhaps explains why the UFC went outside the promotion to get him some competition.

It's been over 6 years since Josh Burkman last fought in the UFC. He's been making waves on the regional scene and most prominently in World Series of Fighting, where he stunned the MMA world with a knockdown and then technical submission of Jon Fitch. Burkman's 3-0 record at WSOF was snapped when Steve Carl choked him out for the vacant title, but the 34-year-old left the promotion with an emphatic KO of Tyler Stinson. This is a rather rough "welcome back" for Burkman after such a long UFC exile, but it's certainly not the end of the world if he's unable to pull off the upset.

Kyoji Horiguchi (14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. Louis Gaudinot (6-3, 1 NC MMA; 1-2, 1 NC UFC) - Flyweights

Horiguchi could be the big hope for Japanese MMA in the UFC after so many years of underachieving disappointments. After knocking out Dustin Pague at bantamweight, the 24-year-old wisely moved down to flyweight and has been very impressive. He dominated Tachi Palace Fights veteran Darrell Montague and then finished Jon Dolos Reyes last September. His power isn't quite on the level of John Dodson or John Lineker, but he's certainly one of the hardest hitters in the 125 lbs division.

Gaudinot has had a rather unusual series of fights in the UFC. After competing on TUF 14 as a bantamweight and losing to the gigantic Johnny Bedford, the Long Island native moved to flyweight, only for John Lineker to miss weight and turn his scheduled debut into a catchweight. In a high-paced thriller, Gaudinot submitted Lineker with a guillotine choke. It stands as Gaudinot's only UFC win, as he has subsequently dropped a decision to Tim Elliott and then failed a drug test, which took away his submission win over the (now retired) Phil Harris.

Nate Marquardt (33-13-2 MMA, 11-6 UFC) vs. Brad Tavares (12-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) - Middleweights

Dana White once said that Nate Marquardt would never fight in the UFC again after Marquardt was pulled from a main event bout vs. Rick Story in June 2011. As it turned out, Marquardt's low testosterone levels would be found out and he didn't pass his medicals in time. The former middleweight title challenger dropped to welterweight when he signed with Strikeforce, and "The Great" finished Tyron Woodley with a series of hard standing elbows. Marquardt's Strikeforce belt however would be instantly snatched by Tarec Saffiedine, but Marquardt was able to return to the UFC. After a rough stretch of consecutive KO losses in his UFC return, Marquardt headlined the first ever UFC card in New Zealand, where he submitted local favorite James Te Huna with an armbar in the 1st round.

Tavares was on the cusp of the top 10 when he was battered and tossed around like a cheap toy by Yoel Romero at UFC on Fox 11 in April. The 27-year-old from TUF 11 had won 7 of his 8 previous UFC fights prior to the Romero decision, but the Hawaiian was expected to defeat Tim Boetsch in Maine last August. After a very strong opening round, Boetsch turned the tables and delivered a comeback TKO win that sent Tavares to his 2nd straight defeat. This is a must-win for Tavares if he aims to become a contender in the middleweight division, and beating a former title challenger could be the best win on his resume.