Silva-Leites, Liddell-Rua to Headline UFC 97


Anderson Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced yesterday a pair of fights that will headlined the organization’s upcoming return to Canada on April 18. Anderson Silva will defend his UFC middleweight title against fellow Brazil native Thales Leites and former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell will take on former PRIDE star Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Silva comes into the fight never having lost in the UFC. Since taking the middleweight title from Rich Franklin over two years ago, “The Spider” has won six consecutive fights, including a successful rematch against Franklin, title defenses over Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson, and a quick win at light heavyweight against James Irvin.

Since losing his UFC debut to Martin Kampmann in November 2006, Leites has pieced together quite the streak of his own, winning his last five fights. The Nova Uniao product last escaped with a controversial split decision over Marquardt at UFC 85 in June and followed up with a first-round submission of Drew McFedries this past October.

Liddell and Rua were originally slated to meet at UFC 85, but both fighters were forced off of the card due to injury. Since then, Liddell was knocked out by eventual UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 88 in September, while “Shogun” avenged a previous loss to UFC Hall-of-Famer Mark Coleman at UFC 93 on January 17.

UFC 97 is scheduled to take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Additionally rumored fights for the event include Nate Quarry vs. Jason MacDonald, Denis Kang vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam, and David Loiseau vs. Ed Herman.

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