Hector Lombard likely facing Niko Vitale in non-title bout at Bellator 44

Explosive middleweight Hector Lombard appears to have a date and opponent lined up for his return to the cage. According to multiple sources the promotion’s 185-pound champion will likely fight on May 14 at Bellator 44 with veteran grappler Niko Vitale serving as the latest individual attempting to solve the riddle provided by Lombard’s in-ring offerings.

News of the potential match-up was first reported by
MMAJunkie where it was also explained the 33-year old’s belt would not be on the line.

Lombard is 27-2-1 in his career including six wins under the Bellator banner. He hasn’t been beaten since November 2006 with twenty victories and a single draw since falling by way of decision to Gegard Mousasi at a PRIDE event. His latest instance of success came this past October in the form of a Unanimous Decision title-defense over Alexander Shlemenko.

Newly-signed Vitale will be making his Bellator debut when the two square off in May but brings experience in Strikeforce, the UFC, and a host of other organizations with him. The 28-9 Hawaiian grappler hasn’t been finished in five years and holds past wins over respected opponents like Matt Lindland and Yushin Okami. Sixteen of his victories have come by way of submission including back-to-back Ezekiel Chokes in his last two outings.

23 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    “…back-to-back Ezekiel Chokes…”

    NICE.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    MCM I guess we better get started on that online petition for BFC to change there terminology of the Weightclass Championship Titles to a more logical Tournement Title Holder to avoid everyone having a meltdown that there is so many non title fights… LP I’m looking at you.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    - Click thumbs up if BFC should only hold Tournament Titles.

    (All results will be sent to Bjorn Rebney with a strongly worded letter about non title championship fights written by our own LiverPunch. All those clicking thumbs down forfeit the right to complain about BFC. Bus passes for the Million MMAn march in Chicago to the steps of Bellator Fighting Championship are available upon request.)

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    I’m on board gentlemen. Tourney titles only!!! Being a “spring board” organization it makes sense in that no title would ever be vacated by a fighter moving up to the UFC or elsewhere. For super fights they could always have last year’s tourney winner fight the current year’s tourney winner.

    I like it and I hope they do something like that.

    Tournament Champions only!!!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    Now, I want to know what LiverPunch has to say.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    Oah, on topic….I hope Vitale can make this a competitive fight. We all know Lombard needs stiffer competition (no slight to Schlemenko, who did a great job and took it all the way to the end), but I just don’t know if that’s what Vitale represents. Hopefully he does the right thing and just turns this into a grappling match. I want at least 2 rounds out of him.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    “Million MMAn March…”

    Classic, MCM.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • LiverPunch says:

    I see what they are doing but I wish they wouldnt. At least they are keeping active.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • boomnutz says:

    at least they are CONSISTENT!!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • boomnutz says:

    I wish I knew why he hasn’t signed with the UFC, DW’s got to want him…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    LiverPunch says:
    February 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    “I see what they are doing but I wish they wouldnt. At least they are keeping active.”

    Save it for the letter LP! We’re also gonna need stronger wording with no apologies at the end. Don’t give’m an out.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    MCM, I don’t think LP read your comment or the follow ups. I think he was commenting the article, and being quite the gentlemen today…LOL.

    Liver – Read post #3 and tell us what you think of the idea.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    MCM, I gotta ask – what is up with the ultra-mullet photo avatar? Tell me that isn’t you. If it is, tell me that it’s from the 70′s. Please.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    Unfortunately it is not me. But a man can dream Guthookd, a man can dream.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    I have wondered about the avatar pic many a time myself… It always makes me think of the flamboyant latin astrologer/ psychic Walter Mercado. I remember when my grandparents would be watching telemundo and this crazy bastard would come on TV looking like the puerto rican liberaci.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    LP what are you waiting on?? you can single handedly change the coarse of mma FOREVER!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    On the interwebz, one can be whomever one chooses. I choose awesomeness.

    Back on topic,

    I feel like a “noob” saying this, but I had to look up Niko Vitale. I just watched a few of his fights and although I believe the guy is a pioneer in the sport, but he tends to falter against upper mid to top competition. I think Lombard’s power is gonna be too much for him and Vitale doesn’t make it out of the first.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • LiverPunch says:

    Sorry MCM , I didnt read your post at first. If we are taking to the streets , Im in. You here that Rebney?!. The crew from 5 oz are coming.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • mu_shin says:

    Actually a very interesting distinction, that of a tournament champion as opposed to a weight class champion. Excellent insight gentlemen…

    I can understand the preference for weight class champions, as it then follows that within the organization, matches can be scheduled outside the strictures of a tournament format, possibly giving higher profile fighters in emerging organizations like Bellator the opportunity to enhance their presence and reputation with the fans. If a given fighter can only compete when a tournament is in progress, then there are going to be lots of strong competitors sitting on the sidelines, either waiting for their slot in a bracket, or waiting for a tournament to conclude to have another opportunity to compete.

    What I have a hard time understanding is arranging a fight with a fighter just joining the organization, with the reigning “champion” of a particular weight class, and then designating that fight a non-title bout. It gives a guy like Hector Lombard more exposure and an opportunity to further establish his pedigree in the sport, but doesn’t it also detract from the notion of a weight class champion when the champ can lose a fight but not lose the belt? I actually respect Alistair Overeem for deciding to compete in the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament, but doesn’t it raise the possibility of even further tarnishing the SF heavyweight title if the champ gets beat in the tournament but doesn’t surrender the strap?

    Having watched several Lombard fights, I think he’s a beast, and deserves stronger competition. Just wondering if non-title bouts are part of a strategy to bring more respect to the champion and the organization, or if these guys are just feeling their way in the dark…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • LiverPunch says:

    I think it is so their champs can stay active but remain champ until the end of the next tourney Mu_shin.

    “You here that Rebney?!”
    Hair , here , hear , hare. Far too similar.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    Holy shit, we actually have some uniformity of opinion going on here!!

    Now, if only Dufresne would come back from the dead and give us his $.02 we could all live happily ever after.

    :)

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Rece Rock says:

    hahhaa…Not positive but I think Dufresne is a student so he might be a bit overwhelmed with studies, but he seems to be a pretty even keel dude so lets just sign off on his behalf…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m all about a Million MMAn March in Chicago under one condition: It can’t be between the months of November-March (known in Chicago as the months of Coldashell-Coldasshit).

    And yeah, I am a student and I’m currently studying for the national boards next month so that’s why I haven’t been here to keep you delinquents in line.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

LEAVE A COMMENT!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow 5OZ