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Silva Out, Leben In Against Akiyama at UFC 116

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First, the bad news:

Wanderlei Silva, who was scheduled to meet Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 on July 3, has been forced to withdraw from the card due to fractured ribs suffered in training, UFC president Dana White confirmed with MMA Fighting Tuesday afternoon.

Then the mildly good news:

Fresh off a dominant win at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale, Chris Leben has agreed to replace injured Wanderlei Silva and fight Yoshihiro Akiyama in the co-headliner of next week's UFC 116 event.

A source close to the event told Leben has agreed to the bout and is expected to sign shortly.

While fans of The Axe Murderer, such as myself, are surely disappointed by this news, it's the best thing that's happened to Leben in years. It's the most relevance he's had at 185lbs. since being sacrificed to Anderson Silva in 2006. For "The Crippler", it's an amazing personal and professional turnaround that finds him in a much friendlier limelight than the one that shone on him coming off the original season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Current UFC 116 Main Card:

  • Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin
  • Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
  • Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown
  • Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Stephan Bonnar
  • George Sotiropoulos vs. Kurt Pellegrino