Hector Lombard unleaded the beast on Nate Marquardt. | Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Hector Lombard planted his flag in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division with frightening results.
Lombard knocked out onetime Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt with first-round punches at UFC 166 “Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3” on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Marquardt (32-13-2, 9-6 UFC) succumbed to the blows 1:48 into round one, as he lost for the third time in as many appearances.
American Top Team’s Lombard (33-4-1, 2-2 UFC) clipped Marquardt behind the ear with a right hand, pursued his wounded prey across the cage and leveled him with two-punch combination. A series of wicked hammerfists followed next, the last of them turning out the lights on the former middleweight King of Pancrase.
Split Verdict Pushes Boetsch Past Dollaway
Tim Boetsch threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak, as he eked out a split decision over Power MMA Team’s C.B. Dollaway in a preliminary middleweight matchup. Two of the three cageside judges sided with Boetsch (17-6, 8-5 UFC) by identical 30-26 scores; a third cast a dissenting 29-27 nod for Dollaway (13-5, 7-5 UFC).
Boetsch was aided by a third-round point deduction levied against Dollaway for the second of two eye pokes. Dollaway was effective in spurts, mixing improved standup with well-timed takedowns. Boetsch was not deterred, as he marched forward with heavy right hands and occasional kicks.
Lombard has delivered 22 wins in his last 24 bouts.
“I feel great,” he said. “A lot of people doubted that I could make 170 [pounds], but I think it was easier than when I fought at 185, so I think the UFC crew was right about me cutting down to 170. I was wrong, and they were right.”
Eye Upsets Former Strikeforce Champion Kaufman
Stinging combinations and a consistent jab drove Jessica Eye to a split decision over former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman in a preliminary women’s bantamweight encounter. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Eye (11-1, 1-0 UFC).
Eye established her jab early and unleashed multi-punch volleys with regularity, even mixing in a sharp standing elbow in the clinch. Round two was difficult to call, as Kaufman (16-3, 0-1 UFC) found her rhythm in the standup with overhand rights and sneaky leg kicks. The Canadian did her best work in the third round, where she staggered Eye more than once with vicious right hands. However, the Bellator veteran lured Kaufman into the clinch, cleared the cobwebs and settled for the split verdict.
Noons Outduels Sotiropoulos to Decision
Skilled hands and excellent defensive wrestling carried former EliteXC champion K.J. Noons to a unanimous decision over George Sotiropoulos in a preliminary lightweight affair. Noons (12-7, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards by 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 marks.
Outside of a second-round takedown, Sotiropoulos (14-6, 7-4 UFC) found himself trapped on the feet with a superior boxer. He landed his share of punches, but Noons exacted far more damage. The 30-year-old opened a cut above Sotiropoulos’ right eye in the third round and staggered him with a stout right hand. The Aussie later countered with a head kick, but Noons barely blinked and kept firing his punches.
After a 7-0 start to his UFC career, Sotiropoulos has dropped four in a row.
Amagov Bullies, KOs Waldburger
Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export Adlan Amagov knocked out T.J. Waldburger with a first-round left hook and follow-up ground-and-pound in an undercard duel at 170 pounds. Amagov (13-2-1, 2-0 UFC) polished off his latest conquest 3:00 into round one, as he won for the seventh time in eight outings.
Waldburger (16-8, 4-3 UFC) failed to draw the Russian to the canvas and paid a heavy price. Amagov began his onslaught with a spinning kick to the Texan’s midsection and never relented. A left hook drove Waldburger to the canvas, where he was unable to defend himself. Amagov dropped repeated standing-to-ground punches, the last of which, a right hand, separated the grappler from consciousness.
Ferguson Choke Sinks Rio
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson returned from a 17-month layoff to submit Mike Rio with a first-round brabo choke in a preliminary lightweight tilt. Rio (9-3, 1-2 UFC) conceded defeat 1:52 into round one.
Ferguson (14-3, 4-1 UFC) shut down his opponent’s takedown game with stellar defensive wrestling, countering the last of them with the fight-ending choke. The 29-year-old Californian has recorded seven wins in his past eight appearances, six of them finishes.
Prospect Fili Shreds Larsen
Team Alpha Male prospect Andre Fili dispatched Jeremy Larsen with second-round punches in a preliminary featherweight clash. A replacement for the injured Charles Oliveira, Fili (13-1, 1-0 UFC) finished it 53 seconds into round two.
Larsen (8-5, 0-3 UFC) was outgunned on the feet. Fili opened a cut near his left eye in the first round and upped his aggression in the second. There, he staggered the Arizona Combat Sports representative with a thudding right hook to the temple. Larsen took a knee at the base of the fence, forcing referee Jacob Montalvo to intervene on his behalf.
Fili, 23, has won his last nine fights.
Newcomer Horiguchi Stops Pague
Former Shooto champion Kyoji Horiguchi stopped “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 alum Dustin Pague on second-round punches in an undercard battle at 135 pounds. Horiguchi (12-1, 1-0 UFC) put away “The Disciple” 3:51 into round two, as he posted his sixth consecutive victory.
Pague (11-9, 1-5 UFC) struck for a takedown in the first round and threatened the Japanese prospect with a rear-naked choke. However, Horiguchi stayed calm, freed himself from danger and extended the bout. In round two, the 23-year-old floored Pague with a left hook, pounced on the fallen American and went to work with his ground-and-pound. His blows grew in frequency and intensity until Pague could stand no more.