Yushin Okami to face Hector Lombard

Updated: January 8, 2013, 10:15 AM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami will meet Hector Lombard on March 2 in Saitama, Japan, the promotion announced Monday night.

With each fighter registering an impressive victory in his most recent outing, the winner of this bout is expected to receive consideration for a title shot.

Okami, who is ranked seventh among middleweights by ESPN.com, picked up his second win in a row on Dec. 29 at UFC 155 with a unanimous decision over Alan Belcher.

The win improved Okami's professional record to 28-7.

Okami failed to capture the UFC 185-pound title on Aug. 27, 2011, when champion Anderson Silva knocked him out in the second round.

Lombard, a former Bellator middleweight champion, signed with UFC on April 25, 2012, and was immediately thrust into the title-shot picture.

But a potential showdown with Silva quickly dissipated on July 21 when Lombard, making his UFC debut, came out on the short end of a split decision to Belcher. The loss snapped Lombard's 25-fight win streak. He attributed the setback to a fractured sternum and torn cartilage.

Lombard (32-3-1), the ninth-ranked middleweight by ESPN.com, rebounded on Dec. 14 with a first-round knockout of submission specialist Rousimar Palhares.

Middleweights Brian Stann and Wanderlei Silva headline the UFC on Fuel TV event.