Bad news from Wanderlei Silva, he has a torn knee and three broken ribs, forcing him out of his UFC 116 fight with Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama. But never fear, Chris Leben will step up and take on Akiyama on July 3rd, just two weeks after his fight with Aaron Simpson at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale. Chris Leben,
“The UFC called me and they said Wanderlei was hurt and they want me to fight Akiyama … At first I said no because I woke up in the morning, my phone was ringing and I was sore and it doesn’t make sense to take a fight when you’re not prepared and training for it. But then as I thought about it, you know, I’m a fighter, this is what I do. Why would I not take a great opportunity? It would be stupid of me. Not to mention that but I want to be a company man with the UFC, I want them to be happy with me. I don’t know a ton about Akiyama. My coach knows a bunch, but we haven’t even had a chance to talk much about our game plan. I saw him fight Alan Belcher and to be honest with you, I thought he lost that fight. He’s a good Judo guy, he’s got great Judo, fast kicks, maybe not the most power in the world. He’s a little bit shorter than me but he’s a good strong guy. I think that utilizing my skills, keeping it on the feet and clubbing him in the head with my left shouldn’t be too much of a problem.” [BJ Penn]
Leben, 26-6, is proving to be a company man for the UFC after being suspended for steroid use following his fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 89. UFC 116 “Lesnar vs Carwin” is set for July 3rd from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.