UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (21-4 MMA, 6-0 UFC) will make his light-heavyweight debut and take on veteran fighter James Irvin (14-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) at a July 19 UFC event.
MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) confirmed the fight this afternoon with a source very close to the event; it was first reported today by MMARated.com. MMAjunkie.com has also confirmed that the event will be titled UFC Fight Night 14 (and the Sept. 17 Spike TV event will now be titled UFC Fight Night 15).
The event, which will air on Spike TV, was only recently put together -- likely to combat Affliction's star-studded debut "Banned" show, which features a main event between Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia.
Additionally, Dave Meltzer is reporting that UFC president Dana White has confirmed the Silva-Irvin fight and also said that Hermes Franca vs. Frankie Edgar will be added to the fight card.
On Monday we passed along reports of the possible July 19 event (see: initial report). Although Brandon Vera vs. Wanderlei Silva had been considered as a main event, Silva reportedly wasn't physically prepared for the bout.
Instead, the event will feature Silva, who's proven to be nearly unstoppable in the UFC's 185-pound division. Insiders say the UFC had briefly considered matching Silva up with former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, though the bout never came to fruition. He'll now fight Irvin in a non-title fight. The selection of the veteran Irvin is peculiar, to say the least.
Irvin, who made his UFC debut in 2005, is 5-3 in the organization and 3-1 in his past four UFC fights. He most recently defeated Houston Alexander with an eight-second knockout (via Superman punch). However, he's never been considered one of the division's top contenders, and on a few occasions, openly stated that he was possibly one loss away from losing his UFC contract.
The event will take place in Las Vegas, most likely at The Palms Casino Resort.
Official announcement of the event could come on Wednesday. UFC President Dana White is expected finally to announce the "big news" he's been trumpeting for the past few weeks. He's reportedly revealing the news to employees at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT) and then to the public.
According to multiple sources, the announcement could include the confirmation of a new ownership group. MMAPayout.com reports that it could be Bertelsmann Media, a German based international entertainment company.