The Fights that Could Have Been

Since the sports world has come to a halt we thought it might be fun to enter the world of sports fiction and think about fights that could have happened but didn’t and the exciting possibilities of what may have been the results.


Middleweight Bout: Hector Lombard (17-2-1) vs. Scott Smith (14-5)

Where Did They Stand: Lombard was to make his American major league debut after murdering his way through Australia. His only two losses to date were to Akihiro Gono and Gegard Mousasi in PRIDE, both by decision which many fans believe make him shoe in for odds at bola88 and other sites offering up odds whenever he hits the ring. Smith had earned fame with his highlight-reel comeback knockout over Pete Sell on The Ultimate Fighter, and had fought Robbie Lawler twice for the middleweight title. First, being unable to continue because of an eye poke, and getting finished in the second.

How This Would Have Gone: Smith was a fine brawler who didn’t have a whole hell of a lot much more to offer. It’s very possible that Smith could have slept Lombard, but more than likely, Lombard’s size and strength would have mauled Smith and taken him to the ground with his extensive judo background and finished him there.

Did They End Up Facing Each Other: They did not, as Smith had a long career in Strikeforce, while Lombard went the Bellator route.

Sep 22, 2018; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Thales Leites (red gloves) fights Hector Lombard (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Ibirapuera. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports


EliteXC Middleweight Championship: Robbie Lawler (c) (16-4) vs. Joey Villasenor (26-6)

Where Did They Stand: Lawler, the MMA wunderkind who made his UFC debut at 20 years of age, piddled around some regionals, most notably ICON Sport in Hawaii, making a cameo in IFL, and PRIDE’s journey to the U.S. in October of 2006, throwing a flying knee 22 seconds into the fight and knocking out *checks notes*, oh, Joey Villasenor! Lawler seemingly found a home in EliteXC, winning their middleweight championship Speaking of Smokin’ Joe, he made his name in King of the Cage, back when that carried some cache. He amassed a 3-0 record in EliteXC leading to his title shot.

How This Would Have Gone: Lawler was devouring men’s souls in that era (much like he was in his Rory-Mac UFC era), only he was doing it very quickly, and very violently. Maybe it would last longer than 22 seconds, but Lawler would have put him away.

Did They End Up Facing Each Other: They did not. After the folding of Elite, Lawler found a home in Strikeforce, then the UFC. Villasenor had some serious miles on him, and he never reached that high in his career again.


Heavyweight Bout: Brett Rogers (8-0) vs. Paul Buentello (26-10)

Where Did They Stand: Boy, Buentello really got around, didn’t he? He was also supposed to fight in Affliction: Trilogy. Buentello was a former UFC heavyweight title challenger who was what he was by that point; a tough meat-and-potato scrapper, a high-level gatekeeper. And that’s exactly what he was to be against Rogers, a hulking 6’5″ heavyweight who had finished all of his fights by first-round knockout.

How This Would Have Gone: Well, Buentello would have been a major step up for Rogers, whose biggest wins to date were James Thompson and Jon Murphy. Rogers wouldn’t walk through Buentello like he’d walk through his previous opponents. I think this would have gone the distance, with two gassed fighters going to the cards.

Did They End Up Facing Each Other: Nope. Rogers went straight into Strikeforce, while Buentello kicked around, even making a return to the UFC.


Vacant EliteXC Lightweight Championship: Eddie Alvarez (15-1) vs. Nick Diaz (18-7)

Where Did They Stand: Eddie cut his teeth on the Atlantic City regionals, before fighting in the three-ring circus that was BodogFight, before staking his claim out East in Japan for Dream. What else can be said about Nick Diaz that he hasn’t incoherently mumble-rambled about? Like Lawler, he was another prodigy who made his UFC debut at the age of 20. He made a name for himself with his brashness and style, knocking out Robbie Lawler, before upsetting Takanori Gomi in PRIDE’s Las Vegas card, being upset by KJ Noons for the EliteXC lightweight strap, rebounded with two TKOs, and here we are now.

How This Would Have Gone: GODDAMN WOULD THIS HAVE BEEN EPIC!! These two are boxers at heart. Stockton vs. Philly. 209 vs. 267. They would have thrown until someone fell, or quite frankly, more than likely, until one was so dotted up that the doctor had to stop it. Especially over 25 minutes.

Did They End Up Facing Each Other: They did not, and all of us are worse off for it. Eddie was in Bellator when Diaz was doing his thing in the UFC in completely different weight classes. It should be noted, however, that Elite’s lightweight title was a 160lb limit. So, the odds of them fighting even if they were in the same promotion is slim.

Marcelo Villa

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.