Michael Lombardo: From the Gridiron to the Cage

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Michael Lombardo

Most of the time a fighter finds MMA. In the more rare case of Michael Lombardo, MMA found the fighter. “The Don” Lombardo was very active in many sports growing up but football was his main passion. He led his high school team (Jupiter Christian-FL) to a 14-1 record and a 2008 state championship playing both sides of the ball. Lombardo spent a short time at Arkansas State University before transferring to Wagner College (NY) for the rest of his collegiate football career. Lombardo knew after college football he was going to need to do something else with his life.

The Evolution of MMA into Lombardo’s Life

“I played college football at Arkansas State University and Wagner College and started watching YouTube videos on the Wanderlei Silva and Ramage Jackson feud fights in Pride and got hooked on it,” Lombardo told MMASucka. “During the summer I would come home and train at a gym called The Armory under Edson Barboza, who was the kickboxing coach at the time. That’s when I knew once my football career was done I was going to go and give MMA a run.” The Armory is a gym in Jupiter, FL that specializes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling.

Lombardo had the love and support of his parents when he decided to make the transition to MMA. “Without them, I definitely wouldn’t be able to make the gains I have in such a short time. They’ve taught me hard work my entire life and they lead by example,” stated to MMASucka.

Landing at American Top Team

Lombardo also credits his head coach, Dave Zitnick, as being one of the biggest inspirations in his MMA career. “He has taken me under his wing since the first time I met him at the gym. He’s trained me all my amateur and pro career; he’s the one that helped get me into American Top Team Coconut Creek Gym, which obviously helped bring me to the next level training with the best guys in the word day in and day out.”

“The Don” has taken to MMA quite quickly already amassing an amateur record of 4-0 and a pro record of 6-1 with one of those being a decision victory in Bellator over Emmanuel Verdier. Lombardo has also only been training MMA full time for five years. He is with an amazing team to continue his fast and furious pace to make any big organization his permanent home. “The Don,” according to Tapology, is the number one ranked middleweight prospect in the state of Louisiana. He is also the number three prospect in the state of Florida. Lombardo’s last two fights were for Battle of New Orleans where he won by first-round TKO at Battle of New Orleans 27 in February 2018. He followed that up with a third round arm-lock submission at Battle of New Orleans on April 20, 2018.

Lombardo has won three of his six bouts by decision showing he has the endurance to go the distance. Lombardo is also very strong and uses wrestling well. It was put on display in his Titan FC bout against Lorenzo Hunt where he landed several takedowns. As a result, he carried over his strength from his college football days and uses that strength in his hard thrown fists which he displays anytime he steps foot in a cage.

Jockeying for the UFC Call

Austin Vanderford, the boyfriend of Paige VanZant, posted he would like to fight on the UFC card in Idaho in July. In the post, he stated he, “undefeated, Natty champ, and PVZ’s man.” Lombardo responded happily to take on the challenge in Idaho. “Haha let me get this fight in July against Mr. Vanzant. This guy is trying to live off of his girl’s name. I’ll finish him in 1,” Lombardo Tweeted back. MMASucka asked Lombardo if anything has come of the messages but stated, “Nothing came of a fight with Mr. Vanzant. He didn’t accept the callout. I guess he doesn’t want a real fight. I’m just ready to be in the UFC and fight the best in the world. God willing that opportunity comes soon.” Hopefully, Lombardo is given that shot to fight for the UFC, along with his Bellator and Titan FC appearances so early in his career.

The Bellator Experience

His Bellator experience was quite odd for most who fought in the promotion. Lombardo competed at Bellator MMA Series: Miami. The event was one of the NASCAR co-promotion events where fighters fought outside of NASCAR tracks just before big races. “It was different,” Lombardo recalls to MMASucka. “It was outside and it was a real hot day. We fought in the middle of the day at like 12:30 pm right outside the NASCAR track. The fight was a three round war with a tough guy, Emmanuel Verdier. He had me in a bad position in the second. He sunk in a rear naked choke but I ended up surviving the round and going on to win the decision.” Lombardo went on to discuss fighter in the heat outside. “It was so hot that the canvas of the cage was burning my feet before the fight. It definitely made it tougher to push a hard pace. The sun played a part in the cardio.”

The Future

Lombardo has already fought twice this year in New Orleans. Hopefully, we will see him back in action soon to continue his winning ways and get into the UFC. Lombardo just created Twitter this month so give him a follow https://twitter.com/Lombardo561


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Matt's love and passion for martial arts began at the age of four with Taekwondo. Matt later trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while serving nearly ten years in law enforcement. Matt has just recently discovered his passion of writing on mixed martial arts.

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