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Steve Cofield

Lombard and Fujii get the spotlight this week

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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They're both badly in need of more attention from casual fight fans and with no other major action on the schedule this week, Hector Lombard and Megumi Fujii get to take centerstage. A powerful middleweight on the male side and the woman some call the best pound-for-pound in the world, fight at Bellator 34 on Thursday night.

Lombard (27-2-1) could be on the verge of exploding into the mainstream. Without a loss since late 2006, he's got it all. The Cuban certainly looks like a fighter with a thick build that would stack up against most NFL running backs. Lombard also hits the cage with a killer instinct. His last two fights, wins over Herbert Goodman and Jay Silva, lasted a combined 44 seconds. Remember Silva had just gone the distance in a pair of UFC fights against Chris Leben and C.B. Dollaway.

The 32-year-old has a special pedigree having competed for Cuba's Judo squad at the 2000 Olympics. The No. 18 middleweight in the world according to the USA Today/Bloody Elbow rankings, Lombard may be a bit underrated. He just hasn't gotten a crack at the best of the best. He'll face Alexander Shlemenko, who is 15-1 since 2007. Both guys are sluggers, so don't blink.

During Bellator's 115-pound women's tourney, Fujii (22-0) has certainly lived up to her lofty reputation. The submission specialist has blown threw her three American opponents in the tournament. She'll have to deal with the biggest fighter in the field to win the title. Zoila Frausto (9-1) cuts down from over 130 pounds to reach the 115 limit. If you're not a fan of female fighting, this one might change your mind. The fighters down at 115 are similar to the men at 155 and below. The pace is quick and there are no stamina issues.

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