HOUSTON – Hector Lombard’s debut at welterweight couldn’t have gone much better.

In quick fashion, the former Bellator middleweight champion shut down Nate Marquardt, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion, with a first-round knockout.

The welterweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 166 event at Toyota Center in Houston. It aired on FOX Sports 1 after additional prelims on Facebook and ahead of the pay-per-view main card.

Lombard stalked early as Marquardt circled outside. Marquardt tried to work some kicks to the body, but then Lombard chased him down. A little more than a minute in, the two tied up and each landed some heavy punches in close quarters before splitting apart.

And right after that, Lombard went to work in a scary way. He landed a right hand over the top, and Marquardt started moving backward. A right hand over the top was on the button, and a left hand came right behind that. He landed a left hand to finish things off, and Marquardt was done less than two minutes into the fight.

“I feel great. A few people doubted me that I could make 170, but I did it easier than when I was at 185,” Lombard said. “I think Dana White, Joe Silva, the rest of the UFC was right for me to cut down to 170 – I was wrong, and they were right.”

“He wanted this fight, he asked for this fight, so I did what I needed to do,” Lombard said. “He is a good fighter with a lot of fights in his career and was a champion in Strikeforce. He said he wanted to stand and trade, but he started backing up and I caught him. I wanted to make sure I finished him. I had a lot of motivation to do this.”  

“It’s hard to say what happened this close after the fight,” Marquardt said. “I rocked him early on. He’s just a very good finisher – he had me hurt. I never really had that happen to me before. He fought great. He fought an in-shape, focused Nate Marquardt and won. I have no excuses.”

Lombard (33-4-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is back in the win column after a split-decision loss to Yushin Okami in March and he’s back to even at 2-2 in the UFC. Marquardt (32-13-2 MMA, 10-6 UFC) now has lost three straight and two in a row by first-round knockout.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 166 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 166, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Houston.

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