Chris Leben has officially replaced an injured Wanderlei Silva and will take on fellow middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama in the co-main event of “UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin” on July 3 in Las Vegas, the UFC announced on Friday.
Silva withdrew from the matchup on Tuesday after suffering three broken ribs in training, but had planned to fight despite a torn ACL. “The Axe Murderer” is expected to be sidelined at least six months to recover from the injuries.
Leben quickly stepped in just days after knocking out Aaron Simpson at Saturday’s The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale, and despite Akiyama threatening to withdraw from the fight, the matchup will go ahead as scheduled.
UFC 116 is headlined by the return of heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar vs. interim title-holder Shane Carwin, and also includes Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown, Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski, and Kurt Pellegrino vs. George Sotiropoulos.
Pictured: Chris Leben