Alexander Shlemenko will return to the Bellator MMA cage for the first time in approximately 18 months when he faces UFC veteran Kendall Grove on Oct. 21 in Memphis.
Bellator President Scott Coker revealed the matchup during an interview with ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto on Wednesday. The event, likely Bellator 162, will take place at the FedEx Forum and will also see heavyweight Bobby Lashley compete against an as yet to be named opponent.
Shlemenko hasn’t fought for Bellator since he knocked out Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 in February 2015. The former middleweight champ was suspended for three years by the California State Athletic Commission after failing a post-fight drug test for steroids. Last month, Shlemenko’s suspension was reduced to one year, making him eligible to compete on Feb. 28 of this year. Shlemenko has fought twice in 2016 under the M-1 Challenge banner, scoring consecutive triumphs over Vyacheslav Vasilevsky.
Grove has been victorious in three of his last four Bellator appearances, including back-to-back KO/TKO stoppages of Francisco France and Joey Beltran. “Da Sypder” is 4-2 overall since signing with the California-based promotion.