With only a few weeks left before his UFC 116 bout, Wanderlei Silva will have to drop out of his upcoming fight with Yoshihiro Akiyama according to MMA Fighting. Dana White confirmed the story to the site, and a replacement fighter has been confirmed according to MMA Weekly, as Chris Leben will step up and face Akiyama.
Akiyama made his debut at UFC 100, defeating Alan Belcher by split decision in a very close fight. Akiyama’s only loss in MMA came at the hands of Jerome Le Banner and Akiyama has defeated the likes of Kazushi Sakuraba, (Controversially) Dennis Kang, and Melvin Mahoef while fighting in Japan. Interestingly enough, Akiyama was originally scheduled to face Silva at UFC 110, and has reportedly turned down fights against other fighters, insisting on facing the Axe Murderer.
Leben is fighting on two weeks notice after defeating Aaron Simpson at the recent Ultimate Fighter finale last Saturday. He defeated Simpson by TKO in the second round and earned himself a 25,000 dollar Knockout of The Night bonus, his second bonus in the promotion for delivering a hard-hitting knockout. Praise must go to Leben for taking the fight on two weeks notice, which must be a record for replacing a fighter in an upcoming fight.
UFC 116 occurs on July 3 and will emanate from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.