Josh Burkman last fought in the UFC in 2008.

In that year, he lost three straight and was handed his walking papers. He continued fighting in smaller organizations, but it wasn’t until 2012 that his name started to come up a bit more. The reason was he signed with the World Series of Fighting and was looking like his old self in the cage.

From 2012 to 2014, Burkman strung together a more than healthy record of six wins and one loss. One of his victories was over former UFC contender Jon Fitch and that victory apparently grabbed the attention of the match makers at the UFC.  With his contract up at WSOF, Burkman received the call to return to his former promotional home of the UFC and accepted.

At thirty four years of age, he isn’t young and this is most likely his last chance to make waves in the largest promotion on the planet. The matchmakers apparently recognize that and are throwing him directly into the fire at UFC 182.  Burkman will be welcomed back to the UFC against #6 ranked Hector Lombard.

Lombard will be fighting for his third time since dropping to welterweight from middleweight. The odds makers at BetUs.com currently have Lombard listed as a -700 favorite and Burkman stands at a +450 underdog. Those are heavy odds, but for Burkman, it’s do or die and this is what he must do if he intends to prove the betting community wrong and provide fans with what can be the biggest upset of 2015.

Striking Defense 

Burkman has proven over thirty seven professional fights that he is ultra durable, but he can’t forget that he is human. Getting hit by Lombard is an entirely different thing than getting hit by anyone currently on the WSOF roster. If he intends to keep his professional record clear of any knock out defeats, he is going to have to avoid the power of Lombard. Burkman has a one inch height and reach advantage and he is going to have to make the most of it in order to get the best of Lombard while they are standing.

Cardio 

Lombard is built like a street fighter character, and this helps him with his Judo and also his power in striking, but it comes at a cost. With the amount of muscle that he carries on his proportionately small frame he requires a lot of oxygen in order to remain effective. Burkman isn’t small for welterweight by any means, in fact he is an inch taller than Lombard, but he doesn’t have to cut nearly as much weight. Those two factors should play in his favor and must be a part of his strategy in defeating Lombard. On paper, this fight should go the distance. Neither man has been knocked out in their pro careers, Lombard has never been submitted, and he hasn’t submitted anyone in the past five years. Burkman must wear him down quick and take advantage of any fatigue Lombard shows in the second and third round.

Avoid the Ground 

When it comes to submission grappling, it’s difficult to gauge where Burkman is in terms of his level of skill. He submitted Fitch, but was then submitted in his next fight against Steve Carl. Burkman made some controversial remarks on Twitter regarding his loss to Carl, but it must be considered for what it is on paper. Lombard isn’t known for his submission skills either, but he may have the physical strength to out muscle Burkman on the ground which would take away what may be his greatest chance at a victory. Between both men there are a total of forty-three finishes. Though Burkman has won by submission more often than Lombard, he has also lost a lot more by submission. Burkman has had six of his ten defeats delivered to him via submission while Lombard has never been submitted. His greatest chance is standing with Lombard and being very strategic.

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.