In a MMA Rated exclusive, it has been reported that the UFC Middleweight Champion will be moving up to Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) to face James Irvin July 19th in a FREE LIVE EVENT on Spike TV. How freaking cool is that? Make no mistake about it, this event has been designed specifically to counteract another MMA promotion making their Pay-Per-View debut on the same day. Incidently, that other promotion known as Affliction, has quite a few former UFC fighters on their debut Pay-Per-View card.
Anderson Silva will still hold his UFC Middleweight Title and that belt will not be in jeopardy in this fight. His most recent fight was a title-defense victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 82 in Ohio. Many consider Anderson Silva to be the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. James Irvin with a record of 14-4 had been scheduled to fight Rashad Evans at UFC 85 but due to injury had to pull out. We last saw Irvin in the cage making short work of Houston Alexander at the “Ultimate Fight Night” event in April. This really should be an interesting fight between Anderson Silva and James Irvin. It will be Silva’s debut at the 205 pound-limit light heavyweight class and as we have seen, James Irvin really has the skills and potential to hurt people.
Wanderlei Silva was also approached about fighting at the event but due to the short notice would not have sufficient time to get ready.
No other potential fights for the July 19th UFC card have yet been leaked however, Cain Velasquez and Brandon Vera have also apparantly been contacted about the event.
The UFC has christened these free Spike TV events with the name, “Ultimate Fight Night” and this will be the 14th such event. The first Ultimate Fight Night took place back in August of 2005 headlined by Nathan Marquardt vs. Ivan Salaverry. Marquardt won that match by unanimous decision. The Ultimate Fight Nights have really become a pretty cool tradiition. Like I said before, it doesn’t get much better than FREE high-quality MMA action!
So what does Tom Atencio, Vice President of Affliction Entertainment, think about the UFC’s decision to air a free MMA event on the very same day as Affliction’s premiere event? Here’s what he told MMA Rated: “It’s just an example of how they want to control everything but at the same time it’s flattering as well,” Atencio said. “I guess they do view us as threat…absolutely.”
So which promotion do you think Dana White sees as more of a threat, Elite XC, in which the UFC counteracted with a “Iceman Special” and some taped fights or Affliction in which Anderson Silva is to make his light heavyweight debut? It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out which promotion is seen as more of a real competitor by the UFC.