There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about Nate Marquardt and where he is in his mixed martial arts career. He’s had issues with testosterone replacement therapy and is now supposedly no longer on the treatment. He’s been competing in professional mixed martial arts for 14 years. He’s coming off a first-round knockout loss to Jake Ellenberger. Everything about Marquardt suggests he’s in the twilight of his career.
Now Marquardt finds himself on the UFC 166 prelims against Hector Lombard. Lombard’s UFC run has been very disappointing so far. He lost a controversial decision to Tim Boetsch and most recently was out-pointed by Yushin Okami. Lombard had a very long undefeated streak before joining the UFC but against a less than stellar level of competition. Against the tougher competition of the UFC Lombard has struggled. He is not a good volume striker at all and hasn’t applied his judo much either.
The reality about Lombard is, going back to his fights in PRIDE… he’s never really been all that good against tougher competition. I certainly thought he could be but his recent UFC run has proved me wrong. And like Marquardt, Lombard is no “spring chicken” in MMA. His career has been very lengthy as well.
Statistically, Marquardt has been better than Lombard in every significant category. His ability to land and defend strikes is well beyond that of Lombard. He’s shown a greater ability to land powerful strikes and finish fights by knockout (against tough competition). He’s better at landing takedowns and not being taken down himself. He has a better submission game. Everything favors Marquardt.
In Lombard’s defense he’s faced a very high quality of opponents in the UFC and PRIDE, including Okami and Boetsch in the UFC and Gegard Mousasi in PRIDE. That’s partially why his Fight Metric statistics aren’t very good. But the other part, to be honest, is that as talented as Lombard is, he just hasn’t been able to put everything together in big fights.
With the way Lombard and Marquardt match up, I expect this to be primarily a striking match. Striking is the first preference of both fighters – even though Lombard has a judo background he’s only landed five takedowns in 64 minutes of fighting as scored by Fight Metric. Lombard is also difficult to take down himself so I don’t see Marquardt having an easy time getting the fight to the floor if that’s what he wants.
In a striking match there’s certainly a chance that Lombard could win by knockout. Again, Marquardt is coming off a knockout loss which is already a concern. Lombard also has a history of winning by KO/TKO as that has been his method of victory 18 times in 37 career fights.
Ultimately, however, this is a fight Marquardt should win on points as long as he can avoid being badly hurt by Lombard. Lombard has been his own worst enemy in the sense that he stands and stares at his opponent for lengths of time. He doesn’t throw strikes with volume but Marquardt does. In a fight that figures to be a striking match Marquardt is the better man, so he’s my pick to win in an upset. I’m not super confident though.
Pick: Nate Marquardt by decision