Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Legends to meet in Octagon

UFC president Dana White made it official Tuesday when he announced Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva will meet on Saturday, December 29 at UFC 79 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

"Chuck and Wanderlei -- two legends in the sport -- will face off in the most important match of their careers at UFC 79," White said during Spike TV's 2007 Scream Awards. " Chuck and Wanderlei have both wanted this fight for as long as they can remember, and this is definitely the fight that fans have waited for years to see. Finally, PRIDE’s most dangerous striker will face the UFC’s most dangerous striker, and the world will know after years of speculation who will win and who will lose this fight."

The matchup has long been a dream of hardcore MMA fans but has lost some of it's luster since Liddell (20-5), once the game's biggest star, is coming off two consecutive losses. He did, however, knock out seven opponents in seven consecutive fights, including Randy Couture (twice), Vernon White, Jeremy Horn, Renato Sobral and Tito Ortiz (twice), before he was defeated by Quinton Jackson at UFC 71 in May.

"I’m excited this fight with Wanderlei is finally happening," said Liddell. "I’ve been saying for a long time that, given the chance, I would knock Wanderlei Silva out. I think this will be a great fight for the fans, and one that lives up to their expectations, because I’m going to hit him until he falls down and stays down."

The 31-year old Silva (31-7-1) is known for his aggressive style and finishing ability. He began his career almost 11 years ago in his native Brazil, fighting in Vale Tudo bouts before meeting with great success by winning the PRIDE organization’s middleweight championship and defeating the likes of current UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson (twice), Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba (three times), Ricardo Arona, Hidehiko Yoshida, and Kazuyuki Fujita.

"I’ve wanted to fight Chuck for a long time," said Silva. "I think about this fight a lot, our styles are very similar -- we are both great strikers. I’m training very hard, because I want to give my next victory to my fans. After I beat Chuck, then I want to fight the champion."

In addition to Liddell vs. Silva, UFC 79 features the main event welterweight championship matchup between UFC champion Matt Serra (16-4) and former UFC champion Matt Hughes (43-5).

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