The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Monday officially announced its return to the Bell Centre in Montreal. UFC 97 is headlined by a
previously confirmed main event of Anderson Silva and Thales Leites, and a co-main event of Chuck Liddell versus Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Silva will make the next defense of his UFC middleweight championship against Leites. The winner of nine straight bouts– including all eight of his fights in the Octagon – Silva returns after six months of inactivity. The April 18 bout marks his first fight since a confounding performance against Canadian fighter Patrick Cote at UFC 90 in Chicago.
On a five fight streak, Leites earned his title shot off the back of a controversial split decision victory over Nate Marquardt, followed by
a first round submission of power striker Drew McFedries.
Losing three of his four most recent bouts, 39-year-old Liddell is still a fan favorite, but will be looking to UFC 97 to get back on track, possibly to make a final run at the UFC light heavyweight title he used to wear around his waist.
Shogun has been fairly lackluster in his two UFC starts thus far, losing to Forrest Griffin in the Brazilian’s Octagon debut then finishing an aged Mark Coleman late in their recent bout at UFC 93.
Other bouts announced for UFC 97 include former WEC champion Brian Stann’s UFC debut against Krzysztof Soszynski, a middleweight bout pitting Jason MacDonald against Nate Quarry, David “The Crow” Loiseau’s return to the UFC to face Ed Herman, and Mark Bocek versus David Bielkheden in a lightweight bout.