Spike TV heads across the Atlantic Ocean for the third time to telecast a UFC fight card with middleweights â€œThe Ultimate Fighter 3â€ champ Michael Bisping and â€œThe Ultimate Fighter 1â€ standout Chris Leben headlining on Saturday, October 18 at 9:00pm ET/PT (same-day tape delay) from The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England.
UFC 89 will also include two action-packed co-feature bouts with four of the top contenders in the light heavyweight division. Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva, both undefeated square off in the Octagon with the winner on the cusp of a title shot. â€œThe Ultimate Fighter 2â€ alum Keith Jardine looking to rebound from a loss to Wanderlai Silva, takes on veteran Brandon â€œThe Truthâ€ Vera, who is 1-0 since moving down in weight class.
On the undercard, exciting light heavyweight Rameau Sokoudjou takes on Luiz Cane, â€œThe Ultimate Fighter 4â€ alum Chris â€œLights Outâ€ Lytle battles British native Paul Taylor, and â€œThe Ultimate Fighter 2â€ vet Marcus â€œThe Irish Hand Grenadeâ€ takes on undefeated Briton Paul Kelly.
â€œThe Countâ€ Bisping (17-1) from Manchester, England, who gained recognition from American mixed martial arts fans by winning â€œThe Ultimate Fighter 3,â€ will be headlining a UFC fight card in front of his fellow British countrymen for the first time. The 29 year-old has won six of seven fights in the Octagon and is 2-0 since dropping down in weight classes from light heavyweight to middleweight this past April. His most recent fight was a dominating performance resulting in a first round TKO over Jason Day at UFC 85 in June.
Bispingâ€™s opponent is the entertaining and enigmatic â€œThe Cripplerâ€ Leben (18-4), a breakout star from the first season of â€œThe Ultimate Fighterâ€ who has won his last two UFC fights. Lebenâ€™s meteoric rise in the UFC included seven straight wins over such notables as Jorge Rivera, Patrick Cote, and Luigi Fioravanti. However, his title aspirations were derailed in April 2006 in a nationally televised main event live on Spike TV by a devastating punch from a relatively unknown Brazilian fighter, current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Now, over two years later, Leben is back fighting in a main event on Spike TV in search of a victory that will catapult him to a long-desired shot at the title.
The co-feature pits two Brazilian undefeated light heavyweights with their sights set on a shot at the UFC crown. Lyoto Machida sports a perfect 13-0 professional record and is coming off a victory in over Tito Ortiz at UFC 84 in May. Thiago Silva (13-0) has thoroughly demolished his opponents in his four UFC fights â€“ all via submission or TKO with only one going more than a round. The black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu will now face his toughest test against fellow countryman, Machida.
Fighting out of San Diego, CA, â€œThe Truthâ€ Vera (8-2) was a rising star in the heavyweight division of the UFC, with wins against Frank Mir and Assuerio Silva under his belt. However, losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum preceded a move to the light heavyweight division, where Vera made his debut at UFC: Silva Vs Irvin on Saturday, July 19. Grinding out a decision win over Reese Andy, Vera, an Air Force veteran, will look to keep on the winning track as he takes on â€œThe Dean of Meanâ€ Jardine.
A member of Greg Jacksonâ€™s New Mexico based team, Jardine (13-5-1) also broke into the UFC as a heavyweight while being featured on Season 2 of â€œThe Ultimate Fighter.â€ Dropping down to light heavyweight after winning at that seasonâ€™s finale, Jardine boasts an impressive fight resumÃ©, with wins over former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and current champion Forrest Griffin under his belt. Jardine looked destined for a title shot, but his ascent was derailed at UFC 84 this past May, as he suffered a setback in the form of a devastating combination of punches from Wanderlei Silva, resulting in a TKO loss.
On the undercard, Sokoudjou (5-2), a native of Cameroon who currently trains in Temecula, CA, is coming off a first round TKO over Kazuhiro Nakamura at UFC 84 in June. â€œThe African Assassinâ€ will take on muy thai expert Luiz Cane from Sao Paolo, Brazil (9-1) whose only professional loss was to James Irvin at UFC 79 last December.
After having a six fight winning streak in the UFC snapped against Mike Swick at UFC 85, â€œThe Irish Hand Grenadeâ€ Davis (19-5) looks to embark on a new string of victories against British native Paul Taylor (9-3-1), who also fought at UFC 85, defeating Jess Liaudin.
After showing incredible toughness in enduring a unanimous decision loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 86 in July, Chris â€œLights Outâ€ Lytle (35-16-4) is looking to bounce back against UK local and teammate of Michael Bisping at Wolfslair Academy, undefeated Paul Kelly (8-0).