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Johny Hendricks moves to middleweight, meets Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 105 in Halifax
Never fear, fight fans. Even if the UFC continues to not have success finding an opponent for Junior Dos Santos to remain on next month’s UFC Fight Night 105 card in Canada, a new matchup has taken shape to ease your pain.
Former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (17-6 MMA, 12-6 UFC) will head to middleweight to take on Hector Lombard (34-6-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A person close to the booking confirmed the matchup to MMAjunkie today following an initial report from Brazilian MMA news outlet Combate.com.
Although the site mentioned Hendricks-Lombard as the likely new main event, the fight’s placement has not yet been decided on. The UFC has not yet made a formal announcement of the booking, but a UFC official told MMAjunkie the fight is not likely to headline the card.
UFC Fight Night 105 takes place Feb. 19, a Sunday, at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and airs live on FS1 following prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
This past week, Stefan Struve (28-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC) announced a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery had taken him out of the main event against former heavyweight champion Dos Santos (18-4 MMA, 12-3 UFC). Combate.com reported Dos Santos will be removed from the card entirely without an opponent willing to step forward, though the UFC has not yet announced Struve’s injury or either fighter’s removal from the event.
Hendricks has fallen on some rough times after winning the then-vacant welterweight title nearly three years ago with a unanimous decision over Robbie Lawler at UFC 171. The two rematched at UFC 181, but Lawler took the belt with a split decision.
Hendricks rebounded with a decision win over Matt Brown at UFC 185 in March 2015, but a fight against now-champ Tyron Woodley booked for UFC 192 was scrapped when a bad weight-cut led to Hendricks heading to the hospital on weigh-in day. A few months later, he headlined UFC Fight Night 82 against Stephen Thompson, but was stopped with a first-round TKO – the first stoppage loss of his career.
In his follow-up at UFC 200 in July 2016, Hendricks missed weight by a quarter-pound, then lost a decision to Kelvin Gastelum. And at UFC 207 in December, he missed weight by two and a half pounds, then lost a decision to Neil Magny – though it was a decision that was questioned by many thanks to Hendricks’ several takedowns and top control in the fight.
Now the 33-year-old former champ no doubt hopes his days of difficult and dangerous weight cuts are in the past with a move 15 pounds north to middleweight.
Lombard will be 39 when he steps into the cage against Hendricks and will be trying to snap a rough stretch of his own. After a win over Josh Burkman at UFC 182 was overturned due to steroid infraction, Lombard has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in his career – and they also happen to be the only times he’s been stopped.
The former Bellator champion was stopped early in the third round by a Magny TKO at UFC Fight Night 85 in March 2016. That fight was his fourth at welterweight in the UFC, and it ultimately chased him back to middleweight. But at UFC 199 this past June, Dan Henderson knocked him out with a head kick and brutal elbows in the second round, leaving him below .500 in his UFC tenure.
The UFC Fight Night 105 card now includes:
Johny Hendricks vs. Hector Lombard
Cezar Ferreira vs. Elias Theodorou
Jack Marshman vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
Alvaro Herrera vs. Alessandro Ricci
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Nordine Taleb
Reginaldo Vieira vs. Aiemann Zahabi
Carla Esparza vs. Randa Markos