by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
After a stunning performance in his last outing, a knockout win over Terry Martin, former Ultimate Fighter season 1 cast member, Chris “The Crippler” Leben will return to the Octagon on March 1 and face new American Top Team middleweight, Alessio Sakara, as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fighter.

Leben was coming off of back to back losses prior to his last fight, and while many expected Terry Martin to win and look towards a potential title match-up with Anderson Silva down the road, the part time Team Quest member spoiled Martin’s hopes with a 3rd round knockout.

Training primarily out of the ICON gym in Hawaii now, Leben looks to get another win under his belt facing a very tough test in Alessio Sakara, who will make his debut at 185lbs at UFC 82 in March.

Sakara, currently 3-3 in the UFC, made the decision to move to the middleweight division prior to his last fight, a TKO over King of the Cage veteran, James Lee at UFC 80 on Jan 19.

Now working with arguably the top camp in all of MMA, American Top Team, Sakara is dropping to 185lbs and looking to compete with the top names and it starts with Chris Leben.

UFC 82’s star studded card will feature a main event pitting middleweight champion Anderson Silva against Dan Henderson, and will also showcase a number of top ranked fighters in what is expected to be one of the biggest shows the promotion will hold in the first half of 2008.

No word whether Leben versus Sakara will make the main card, but it is believed at this time that the middleweight bout will likely be relegated to the preliminary card before the televised portion of the pay-per-view.