Anderson Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Although Thales Leites himself has said that he has signed a contract to challenge Anderson Silva for his UFC middleweight title when the organization returns to Montreal, Quebec, Canada for UFC 97 on April 18, UFC President Dana White has been hesitant to confirm the rumored bout.
When asked if the Silva-Leites matchup would serve as the main event for UFC 97 at the post-fight press conference for UFC 92 early Sunday morning, White only stated that the fight would “probably” headline the show.
Leites told Tatame.com on December 23 that he had signed to fight Silva and was very much looking forward to the bout, citing that a fight against Silva would require a strategic training camp and game plan going into the bout.
“I’ll do my best for the belt,” Leites told the website. “Anderson is phenomenal and fought some of the best guys and made them look like nothing, won fast and easy. But the whole thing is training… I think it’d be a fight where I’ll try to work on the short distance and take him down, and he’d try to strike with me, but I won’t avoid striking and I believe he won’t avoid the ground. It’d be a Muay Thai vs Jiu-Jitsu fight”
Leites would be coming into the bout on a five-fight winning streak that was started after dropping a decision to Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut over two years ago. Since then, Leites has scored impressive victories over Pete Sell and Drew McFedries as well as a controversial decision over former UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt.
Silva meanwhile, is making his second straight defense of his middleweight title instead of trying his hand at another matchup in the light heavyweight division. “The Spider” was last seen in action on October 25, where he successfully defended his belt for the fourth time after opponent Patrick Cote suffered a knee injury in the third round of their bout.
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