If there is any fight that is a true testament to the global reach of mixed martial arts, it is the UFC on FX 6 co-main event between Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares on Dec. 14.

For starters, the fight is taking place in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Although the promotion has visited the land down under previously, it is the first time it will visit Queensland.

Lombard—a former Olympic judoka from Cuba—had his 25-fight undefeated streak snapped in his UFC debut against Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 in July. The longtime Bellator champ later blamed a preexisting injury for the lackluster performance, and he’ll need a strong showing if he ever wants a crack at UFC gold.

Across the cage will be Brazilian leglock specialist Rousimar Palhares. Like his opponent, his last outing was anything but impressive. Palhares attempted one of his dangerous submissions, but once opponent Alan Belcher escaped, Palhares wilted and succumbed to a TKO.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills matchup against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Lombard – 10, Palhares – 9

Lombard (James Law/Heavy MMA)

On the feet, Lombard’s striking is leaps and bounds ahead of Palhares’ in terms of technique. Coupled with the fact that Lombard has scored (T)KO’s in 17 of his 31 career wins, the likelihood of him ending this fight on the feet is high. The wildcard is whether his performance against Boetsch truly was due to an injury. He was very flat-footed and fell into headhunting mode, which could leave him off balance and susceptible to leaving a leg exposed.

Palhares may actually match Lombard’s power, despite never finishing a fight by strikes. The stocky Brazilian generates a ton of force with his strikes, but aside from his bout with Dan Miller, he relies so heavily on his ground game that there’s rarely a chance for him to win on the feet. However, there is a massive hole in Palhares game: his chin. Against both the aforementioned Belcher and Nate Marquardt, when Palhares’ submission game was stifled, he was battered on his back. The same scenario is very plausible against Lombard.

Ground Game: Lombard – 9, Palhares – 10

Palhares (L) looks for a submission (James Law/Heavy MMA)

The majority of the focus of this fight will be on Palhares’ ground attack, but ignoring Lombard’s own credentials would be a mistake. Beyond his judo base, he also possesses a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt of his own. With 36 fights on his resume, the American Top Team fighter has seen a lot and he’s unlikely to be surprised by anything that Palhares has to offer.

It isn’t much of a stretch to call Palhares a one-trick pony. The Brazilian Top Team fighter is a master of leglocks. Seven of his 10 career submission victories have come via the technique and even though most of his opponents know it is coming, they haven’t been able to find a way to stop it. If Lombard hasn’t done the type of homework that Marquardt and Belcher did on “Toquinho,” he’ll walk out of the cage with yet another leg for his mantle.

Wrestling: Lombard – 10, Palhares – 9

Lombard (R) (William Musacchia/Sherdog)

With neither fighter coming from a true wrestling base, Lombard’s judo experience stands out as the biggest asset in determining where this fight takes place. Rather than using it to bring the fight to the mat, he’ll need to use it to keep the fight standing to utilize his superior striking attack.

Without question, Palhares wants this fight on the mat and based on his past bouts, he’s willing to do just about anything to get a fight there. Whether it means pulling guard or awkwardly rolling for a leg, the Brazilian is likely to take a chance to bring Lombard into his world.

X-Factor

This fight may come down to which fighter is more mentally composed inside the cage. Lombard’s Octagon debut was nothing like the dominant run he had under the Bellator banner, and how he bounces back from that loss will be a huge factor in the outcome of this fight. For Palhares, suffering another TKO loss from an opponent who escaped his go-to weapon could not have helped his already fragile psyche. If he hasn’t put that past him, he could be in for a short night against someone as powerful as Lombard.

Scorecard: Lombard – 29, Palhares – 28

Verdict: Lombard’s loss to Boetsch left many questioning his ability to compete in the UFC, but that may have as much to do with nerves, an injury or even Boetsch’s talents than Lombard not having the skills needed to be competitive. Expect Palhares to attack Lombard’s legs only to come up empty, and for Lombard to score a decisive knockout early in round two.

Top Photo: Rousimar Palhares (Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog)

About The Author

The MMA Corner Staff

Your home for all things MMA. News, Interviews, Event Coverage, Editorials. If it is MMA related, you will find it on The MMA Corner.