Former middleweights Jake Shields and Hector Lombard will face off in a welterweight bout at UFC 171.
The bout was first announced by Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com.
Shields, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, is coming off back-to-back split decision victories over Tyron Woodley at UFC 161 in June and Demian Maia in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 29 in October. Since making his professional MMA debut in October 1999, Shields (29-6-1, 1 NC) has finished 10 of his fights by submission, seven of which were in the first round.
Lombard impressed in his welterweight debut at UFC 166 in October, knocking out Nate Marquardt at 1:48 in the first round. Having gone 1-2 at 185 pounds, the 35-year-old Cuban-Australian said the decision to drop to the welterweight division wasn’t his, but the promotion’s.
“That wasn’t my plans, UFC wanted me to go to 170. They believe that I have, that I will perform better at 170 than 185,” Lombard said in July. “I have to do what the bosses say you know. Can’t argue with the bosses. If it were up to me, I would have stayed at 185.”
Lombard added, “I have to be disciplined and I have to do what they want me to do. I’ve been training hard and I think I will be able to make it and I will be able to perform better that way. They said I’m too short for 185 and I would be big at 170.”
Lombard (33-4-1, 1 NC) has finished 19 of his fights by knockout, with 11 KOs and 4 TKOs in the first round. The former Bellator middleweight champion also holds the record for the fastest recorded knockout in the promotion’s history, having knocked out Jay Silva just six seconds into the first round of Bellator 18 in May 2010.
UFC 171 will be headlined by a title match between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira. The match had initially been scheduled for UFC 170 on February 22, but Jones withdrew from the bout. His manager, Malki Kawa, explained that Jones still felt off from a foot injury he suffered during UFC 165 in September. UFC 171 will be held March 15 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.