Hector Lombard To Face Paulo Filho At Bellator 18A middleweight superfight between Hector “Shango” Lombard and former WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo “Ely” Filho is planned for Bellator Fighting Championships 18 on May 13th. The promotion confirmed the news earlier today. Lombard’s Bellator title will not be on the line.

The embattled Filho, who reigned undefeated through his first 16 fights, has struggled with depression and substance abuse in recent years, but was once one of the top three middleweights in the world. A victory over Lombard could potentially get his career back on track.

Lombard (24-2-1, 1 NC), who is also a titleholder in Cage Fighting Championships, won the Bellator Middleweight Championship last year by defeating three opponents in the promotion’s inaugural middleweight tournament. Undefeated in his last 18 fights, Lombard’s lone defeats came in a pair of 2006 PRIDE bouts with “The Japanese Sensation” Akihiro Gono and current Strikeforce champ Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi. He has finished 18 of his opponents and is one of the fastest rising stars at 185 pounds. A victory over Filho would solidify Lombard’s spot among the division’s top ten.

Filho (19-1-0) has become one of the most talked about fighters in MMA, though discussions involving the Brazilian have recently centred on his bizarre behaviour and struggles outside of the cage. The former PRIDE ace became WEC Middleweight Champion at WEC 29 in 2007, but a pair of controversial bouts with current UFC standout Chael Sonnen followed and Filho went into exile soon after. He won three times in 2009, with a submission victory over Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef at Dream.10 as the most notable. Should Filho manage to get past Lombard, a Bellator title rematch could follow.

Bellator Fighting Championships 18 is set for May 13th. A location and venue have not yet been announced, but a full schedule for Bellator’s 12-week second seasion should be finalised soon.


(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)