In breaking news, MMAWeekly has confirmed the rumors that Chris Leben and Anderson Silva will be facing off on the June 28th “Ultimate Fight Night” card on Spike TV.
Sources from inside American Martial Arts Academy (AMC) Pankration told MMAWeekly that Chris Leben signed on the dotted line last night.
In addition, MMAWeekly spoke with representatives of Anderson Silva, who also confirmed that the bout agreement has been signed.
MMAWeekly previously broke the news that the fight was rumored to be taking place (along with several other interesting match-ups on the same card) on the MMAWeekly Rumors page.
When MMAWeekly interviewed UFC Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin on Wednesday, Franklin was asked specifically about the Leben and Silva fight.
Franklin commented, “I just found out about this fight… that they either signed, or possibly signed, or something. I was sitting [and] thinking about it earlier, and I thought, ‘What a great fight.’ Anderson Silva, his stand up is so… he’s so technical on his feet, but Leben has got a chin of granite… that would definitely be a good match-up.”
Rich went on to say, “I think, right now, the four strongest contenders in the weight class [in the UFC] would be Silva, [Nathan] Marquardt, Mike Swick, and Leben, and not necessarily in the order I named them, but they’re the four strongest competitors… I believe any one of those four would possibly be fighting for the title sometime within the next year.”
The fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Leben will be airing live on cable television on June 28th. As previously reported on MMAWeekly, there will be an additional live fight special airing on Spike TV on Wednesday, June 28th, just four days after the live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 3 takes place on Saturday, June 24th.
The June 28th live fight special will air from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM Eastern Time, and the reason that it was requested by Spike TV in the first place was to provide a strong lead-in for the series premiere of the Spike TV original drama, “Blade: The Series.”
Leben has a 15-1 professional MMA record, which includes being the first fighter to ever defeat Mike Swick (and the only fighter to ever beat Swick in professional competition).
Leben appeared on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and lost to Josh Koscheck and Kenny Florian on the show, though the TUF fights don’t count on a fighter’s professional record.
Since then, Leben has gone 5-0 in the UFC, with wins over Jason Thacker, Patrick Cote, Edwin Dewees, Jorge Rivera, and Luigi Fioravanti.
Anderson Silva was recently added to the UFC’s already deep middleweight division, and has accumulated a professional MMA record of 15-4. Silva, best known for his technical striking, holds victories over some impressive names, including Jeremy Horn, Carlos Newton, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Lee Murray, Jorge Rivera, Tony Fryklund, and Curtis Stout.
Although this will be Anderson Silva’s UFC debut, the bout could easily be billed as a number one contender’s match, given the records of both fighters.
The addition of Anderson Silva to the UFC’s stable of fighters certainly raises the stock of the UFC’s middleweight division. The fact that Zuffa made such a high-profile match-up for Silva’s UFC debut indicates that Zuffa has big plans for both fighters.