Photo courtesy of Josh Hedges/UFC
by Ken Pishna
Last week, Tim Sylvia broke the news to MMAWeekly that his proposed opponent for UFC 54, Brazilian fighter Assuerio Silva, had to withdraw from the fight. According to Sylvia, “The UFC called me on Wednesday and I guess Assuerio tore some ligaments in his knee while training.”
As quickly as Silva backed out of the fight, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva was on top of the situation to provide a replacement and with more than a month to go to the fight, he didn’t fill the void with any tomato can. Sylvia said that the UFC put up an offer for him to fight longtime veteran Tra Telligman, “The UFC contacted me to fight Tra and I said absolutely.” He told MMAWeekly, “I would love that fight because Tra loves to stand and bang and so do I. The fans would get a stand up war; there would be no takedowns, it would be a classic match up.”
The only question was whether or not Telligman would accept the offer for the fight. According to Guy Mezger, longtime Lion’s Den teammate and training partner of Telligman, he has. “Yes, Tra accepted the fight and he is preparing for it right now.”
The fight with Tim Sylvia will be Telligman’s first in more than two years. The last time we saw him in the Octagon, or any ring for that matter, was in June of 2003 when he was on the losing end of a stand-up war with Pedro Rizzo. Asked how he matches up with Sylvia, Mezger was adamant, “I think this is a really good opponent for Tra. He will want to bang with Tra and I think that is a mistake. This is the kind of opponent that Tra looks for.”
Coming off of losses in his last to UFC appearances, to Frank Mir and Andre Arlovski, Sylvia could really use a win to put him back in the title hunt as Mir and Arlovski are poised for a showdown later this year.
At 40 years old and having lost three of his last four fights, Telligman also is a fighter that could use a win to keep his career alive.
With so much at stake for both fighters, August 20th should prove to be a date with at least one heavyweight explosion when these two bangers collide.