The UFC's injury recent injury woes continue with the announcement that Michael Bisping has been forced to withdraw from a matchup against Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 due to an injury suffered in training.
With perennial contender Bisping (22-4) out, the UFC is turning to Hector Lombard (31-2-1-1) to replace him in his highly-anticipated Octagon debut.
Lombard himself recently had his fight plans changed when Brian Stann (12-4), his scheduled opponent for his expected UFC debut in August, had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.
Lombard is currently riding one of the best unbeaten streaks in MMA, a 25 fight run that dates back to the start of 2007, with 24 wins and a single draw. Lombard's win streak is impressive not only for its length but for the frequency with which he has fought, 4-8 times each year over the past five years, a pace almost unheard of for a top MMA fighter.
Although Lombard first rose to prominence in the martial arts for his skill in Judo, a sport in which he competed at the 2000 Olympics for his home country of Cuba, he has become better known in MMA for his savage knockout skills. With just one of his last fifteen fights going to a decision and more than half of his career wins coming by way of knockout or TKO, Lombard is rightly regarded as one of the best finishers in the sport.
Meeting Lombard will be Boetsch (15-4), who has been enjoying success of his own since transitioning to middleweight after an up-and-down run at light heavyweight. Boetsch has a perfect three fight record in his new home at 185, and most recently claimed an impressive TKO win over former UFC title challenger Yushin Okami (26-7) at UFC 144, a fight which he entered as a big underdog.
Lombard and Boetsch will face each other at UFC 149 on July 21 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in a fight with clear implications for the UFC middleweight title.