The UFC has officially confirmed that the promotion will return to the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on April 18th for UFC 97: Silva vs. Leites.
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (23-4), who is undefeated in eight bouts inside the octagon, meets 185-pound challenger Thales Leites in the evening’s headliner.
Silva captured the title with a first-round knockout of Rich Franklin in late-2006 and has since defended the belt four times with victories over Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, and Patrick Cote. “The Spider” also holds UFC wins over Chris Leben, Travis Lutter, and James Irvin.
After suffering his first professional loss in his UFC debut Leites (14-1) has won five-straight bouts, including recent victories over Nate Marquardt and Drew McFedries.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell returns to action in the UFC 97 co-main event against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Despite losing three of his last four fights Liddell remains a top draw and is likely to need only one or two wins before earning another opportunity at the title he defended four times between 2005 and 2007. He dropped the title to Quinton Jackson in May 2007 then suffered another loss to Keith Jardine later that year before bouncing back with an exciting unanimous decision of Wandelei Silva in December 2007. He was then slated to meet Rua in the main event of UFC 85 last summer but “Shogun” was forced off the card due to a knee injury then Liddell was also forced to withdraw from the event with a torn hamstring. He returned to the octagon in September and suffered a second-round knockout to current light heavyweight title-holder Rashad Evans.
A highly-regarded PRIDE veteran, Rua debuted in the UFC in September 2007 to high expectations but suffered the third loss of his career to future light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin via third-round submission in one of the biggest upsets in recent history. Injuries and surgery kept “Shogun” out of the octagon until UFC 93 in January, where he scored an unimpressive third-round TKO of 44-year-old UFC hall of famer Mark Coleman.