Lombard vs. Shlemenko Bellator Title Match Likely for October 28

Hector Lombard steps back into the Bellator cage on Thursday when he faces Herbert "Whisper" Goodman in a non-title matchup, but the Cuban middleweight will have little time to rest upon the bout's conclusion.

The Bellator middleweight champion is likely to defend his belt against No. 1 contender Alexander Shlemenko on Oct. 28 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting.

The championship scrap will likely be dependent on Lombard's health coming out of the Goodman fight, a non-title bout which also emanates from the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and airs live on Fox Sports Net at 8 pm ET.

Lombard currently has one of the longest unbeaten streaks in mixed martial arts. He has not lost in 19 straight fights, and is 18-0-1 since losing a decision to Gegard Mousasi in 2006.

In his last bout, Lombard (26-2-1) scored the fastest knockout in Bellator history, knocking out former UFC fighter Jay Silva in just six seconds. Lombard originally captured the Bellator belt in June 2009 with a win over Jared Hess, but has yet to defend it.

The 26-year-old Shlemenko won Bellator's season two tournament, defeating Matt Major, Hess and Bryan Baker in succession to set up the bout with Lombard.

Utilizing a flashy and unorthodox striking style, Shlemenko (30-4) has won 15 of his last 16 fights.

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