There are few guarantees in a sport as unpredictable as Mixed Martial Arts. However, the promise of a stand-up war and a highlight-reel knockout were essentially guaranteed Monday evening when the UFC announced Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben have been booked to battle on July 2 at UFC 132. Both middleweights have earned a reputation for fistic fireworks based on well-documented instances of fearlessness and forward movement in the ring meaning action should only hit the ground if one of them nosedives face-first into the mat after a well-placed punch.
Leben, who lobbied for a chance at Silva last year, will be looking to bounce back from a TKO loss to Brian Stann at UFC 125 after racking up a three straight wins prior to the defeat. “The Crippler” has finished nineteen of the twenty-five opponents he’s beaten. Among the names in his win column are Jorge Santiago, Mike Swick, and Yoshishiro Akiyama.
Comparably, the match-up will mark the first for “The Axe Murderer” in nearly eighteen months after sitting on the sidelines since a February 2010 outpointing of Michael Bisping as the result of knee surgery. Twenty-three of Silva’s thirty-three total wins have come via TKO including a pair of victories over former UFC light heavyweight champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson while in PRIDE.
The July 2 card is set to be headlined by a bantamweight title bout between champion Dominick Cruz and fan-favorite Urijah Faber and will also feature UFC icon Tito Ortiz taking on TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC