Tonight – well technically tomorrow, although tonight for those of us in the western hemisphere – former Bellator champion Hector Lombard will look to show the world that he didn’t spend the last five years as a can crusher, that he really can hang with the big boys when he takes on Rousimar Palhares at the UFC on FX 6.

Lombard, if you recall, and could actually make it through the fight without succumbing to the itis, was narrowly defeated at UFC 149 in his Octagon debut by Tim Boetsch in a less than spirited affair. That’s basically a polite way of saying the fight sucked more wand than my ex-girlfriend on her “business trip.”

Hector had a ton of rep behind him when he was signed by the UFC for his 20 fight win streak, and for the criminal manner in which he beat those poor, helpless bastards. He was a tsunami of hurt and despair. But that was in the minor leagues.

The UFC invested heavily in that reputation, offering him a contract that even in defeat paid him $300,000. And one defeat does not a bust make. Could have been the Octagon jitters, or just a difficult opponent in Boetsch. Could have been Hector just had to take a massive shit, or maybe he just isn’t that good. Who knows? The point is we cannot, in fairness, just write a fighter off with a single shitty performance. That write-off must be earned with consistent shittiness.

In Palhares, they’re giving Lombard a very beatable opponent, albeit a dangerous one. But aside from the sadistic leg locks, and the utter lunacy, he brings little else to the cage, and if Lombard can keep the fight vertical he has a good chance to showcase the brutality that spawned all that hype.

His back may be up against the wall too. If Hector wants to keep those fat-ass paychecks rolling in he simply must have a strong showing. The UFC has already figuratively demoted him by putting him on a Friday night card with a weak headliner that few people will even know is on, let alone skip the possibility of scoring a drunken, holiday-loneliness inspired blowjob from that new chick in logistics to watch. Another loss, or worse yet, another garbage fight and there’s nowhere else to go. The UFC isn’t in the habit of paying guys 300k to fight on the undercard. That kind of green comes with the understanding that you’re a main card attraction, and that you have to perform.