by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Following an injury that forced Wanderlei Silva out of UFC 116, Chris Leben has officially been tapped as his replacement to step in and face Yoshihiro Akiyama in a bout set to take place next weekend in Las Vegas.
The UFC made the bout official on Friday. MMAWeekly.com first reported the bout on Tuesday after word of Silva’s injury surfaced.
Leben enters the fight literally days removed from his fight at “The Ultimate Fighter Season 11” finale, where he TKO’d previously unbeaten fighter Aaron Simpson.
The “Ultimate Fighter Season 1” competitor has now picked up two wins in a row, and says he jumped at the opportunity to face Akiyama when the UFC made the call.
“I think he’s basically a little slower version of the guy I just fought. He’s an awesome judo player, he’s got fast kicks, but I don’t think he’s got near the wrestling that Aaron Simpson, has and I don’t think he’s got knockout power,” said Leben via UFC.com. “But it’s a great fight and an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Akiyama has made statements about the replacement fight, even hinting at possibly dropping out of UFC 116 due to the last minute change. It looks like now the man known as “Sexyama” will return to the Octagon and face Leben.
UFC 116 takes place in Las Vegas on July 3 with heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar making his long awaited return to the sport to face interim champion Shane Carwin in the main event.