Bellator champ Lombard cleared for Cage match

Bellator Fighting Championships has cleared middleweight champion Hector Lombard for a return to action in his home country when he faces UFC veteran Kalib Starnes at Cage Fighting Championship Oct. 9 in Queensland, Australia.

Lombard, a 31 year-old native of Matanzas, Cuba, recently returned to the US after an extended vacation in his adopted hometown of Sydney to begin training.

Like much of his professional career, Lombard served a busy schedule in 2009, signing with the upstart Bellator to dominate a tournament of 185lb. fighters and win the promotion's title in June.

"He's been chomping at the bit to get back into action," said Dan Lambert, Lombard's manager at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla.

Lombard gained traction early in his career with CFC, winning the middleweight title in 2007 and defending it four times before being shipped overseas to Bellator.

Starnes, 34, returned to action last November with a win over Chris Cisneros at Destiny MMA in Hawaii. It was "The Ultimate Fighter" alum's first fight since a highly controversial performance against Nate Quarry. Starnes broke his foot in the early part of the UFC 83 fight and spent much of it backpedaling from the advancing Quarry, a course that drew frenzied boos from the crowd and led the UFC to release him from his contract.

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