It's been almost a year since Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard stood in a Bellator cage, but upon his return, he didn't stay long.
Lombard scored the fastest knockout in the promotion's short history, requiring only six seconds to knock out UFC veteran Jay Silva in a non-title, 190-pound catch weight fight at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, La.
"Everybody knows I'm the middleweight champion," Lombard said after Bellator announced the official time of the KO as 6.12 seconds. "They have to respect me. This guy didn't respect me. He said he didn't know me? Come on."
Silva, who was fighting on short notice after replacing Paulo Filho, was coming off two straight losses in the UFC, both of which went to a decision. He went the entire distance in defeats to heavy-handed Chris Leben and wrestling standout CB Dollaway.
Against Lombard though, he didn't make it out of the first minute. Lombard landed both ends of a right hook/straight left combination and Silva was down and out as the ref called a halt to the action.
"Wow, that was beautiful," Lombard said upon watching his handiwork. "He said he's a striker. I have 10 fights Muay Thai fights undefeated. I spar the best Muay Thai fighters, all the best kickboxers in the world. I don't know where his kickboxing comes from."
Lombard will now wait for the rest of the middleweight tournament to play out, and he'll eventually take on the person who emerges from the group, though he said afterward that he expects Jared Hess to oppose him in the title match. That would be a rematch of their June 2009 fight, which Lombard won via fourth-round TKO to take the title.
"I believe Hess is the one, he's going to be the winner," he said. "It's going to be a pleasure for me to fight him again."
Lombard, who improved to 26-2-1, hasn't lost since Nov. 2006, a streak of 19 straight matches.
Meanwhile, Bellator has its first tournament final in place. Joe Warren and Patricio "Pitbull" Freire both advanced to the featherweight final showdown with Thursday night victories.
"He's a great fighter. It should be a great win for me," Warren said in front of Freire, who smiled before firing back.
"Everybody can talk, talk, talk. I want to see him do it in the next round," Freire said.
Warren won his fight with his superior wrestling, taking opponent Georgi Karakhanyan down at will throughout the three-round unanimous decision victory.
While Warren won on points (all three judges scored the fight 30-27), it was a much closer fight than the final scores indicated. Warren was the one in the most danger during the course of the bout, having to escape a pair of submissions as Karakhanyan mounted significant offense off his back.
Warren had to fight his way out of an arm bar and then a third-round guillotine before winning. Karakhanyan also bloodied Warren's face with a hard flying knee.
In the other semifinal fight, Pitbull started slow, losing the first round after being taken down and controlled for a portion of the round. As the fight wore on, though, Pitbull found his stride, outstriking Reis and successfully stopping the takedown tries. By the third round he was firmly in command, landing his full arsenal of punches and kicks.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Pitbull.
"My plan was to go for the knockout, but unfortunately he's a tough guy," he said through an interpreter. "We still put on a good show."
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