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Hector Lombard likely facing Niko Vitale in non-title bout at Bellator 44

Explosive middleweight Hector Lombard appears to have a date and opponent lined up for his return to the cage. According to multiple sources the promotion’s 185-pound champion will likely fight on May 14 at Bellator 44 with veteran grappler Niko Vitale serving as the latest individual attempting to solve the riddle provided by Lombard’s in-ring offerings.

News of the potential match-up was first reported by
MMAJunkie where it was also explained the 33-year old’s belt would not be on the line.

Lombard is 27-2-1 in his career including six wins under the Bellator banner. He hasn’t been beaten since November 2006 with twenty victories and a single draw since falling by way of decision to Gegard Mousasi at a PRIDE event. His latest instance of success came this past October in the form of a Unanimous Decision title-defense over Alexander Shlemenko.

Newly-signed Vitale will be making his Bellator debut when the two square off in May but brings experience in Strikeforce, the UFC, and a host of other organizations with him. The 28-9 Hawaiian grappler hasn’t been finished in five years and holds past wins over respected opponents like Matt Lindland and Yushin Okami. Sixteen of his victories have come by way of submission including back-to-back Ezekiel Chokes in his last two outings.