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Wanderlei Silva takes spot of injured Vitor Belfort at UFC 139

When the UFC recently announced Cung Le would make his Octagon debut on November 19 at UFC 139 against Vitor Belfort, the salivary glands of most fans immediately started working overtime at the thought of how things would unfold given their arsenal of stand-up weaponry.

Unfortunately, according to Belfort as well as his bosses at Zuffa, “The Phenom” has been forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury that will keep him sidelined until December. However, rather than sacrifice the any potential entertainment value by filling Belfort’s absence with a grappler, the UFC brass has come through with an equally exciting replacement in the form of Brazilian bomber Wanderlei Silva.

Though he is considered to be one of the nicest individuals in MMA outside of the ring, “The Axe Murderer” has a legendary reputation for both ferocity and dishing out damage to his opponents inside of it. His career features past knockouts of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (twice) and Keith Jardine, as well as wins over Michael Bisping, Ricardo Arona, and Dan Henderson.

Le should have his hands full given Silva’s style though is no slouch when it comes to striking thanks to his career as a world-class San Shou kickboxer. The former Strikeforce 185-pound champion is 7-1 as a Mixed Martial Artist with seven wins via TKO including victories against Tony Fryklund, Scott Smith, and Frank Shamrock.

UFC 139 takes place in Le’s hometown of San Jose and features additional fights including Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story, Brian Bowles vs. Urijah Faber, and recently announced all-star affair between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Henderson.