Alexander Shlemenko vs. Maiquel Falcao announced for Bellator 88

Bellator

The departure of Hector Lombard from Bellator to the UFC left the Bellator middleweight title vacant, but those days of having no champion are coming to a close. The promotion announced Friday a middleweight title bout between Alexander Shlemenko and Maiquel Falcao for February 7 from Georgia's The Arena at Gwinnet Center. The bout and planned Bellator 88 event will be broadcast on Spike TV.

Shlemenko, 28, is the Bellator season 5 middleweight tournament winner. He defeated Zelg Galesic, Brian Rogers and Vitor Vianna all in the aforementioned 2011 tournament to earn his title shot. Shlemenko has gone 3-0 in other promotions while waiting for a title shot.

Falcao, 31, is the season 6 Bellator middleweight tournament winner. The Brazilian defeated Norman Paraisy, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky and Andres Spang all in 2012 to capture the tournament title and earn a shot at the middleweight belt.

Now in the UFC, Lombard was the Bellator middleweight champion through Bellator 58 in November 2011, but vacated the title to sign with the Zuffa-owned organization. He made his UFC debut in July of this year, losing a split decision to Tim Boetsch.

In addition to Shlemenko vs. Falcao title fight, Bellator 88 will also play host to the opening round of the next featherweight tournament.

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