Brazilian light heavyweights square off on July 21 card
A pair of Brazilian light heavyweights have been booked for a bout on the UFC’s return to Canada in July.
UFC 149 takes place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada’s third largest city. It will be the UFC’s first trip to Alberta, though the WEC made one trip to the province for WEC 49 in Edmonton. The pay-per-view card is expected to be headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and Erik Koch.
Rua (20-6, 4-4 UFC) is coming off what may have been the fight of his career, a unanimous decision loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 139 in November. That fight was said by many to be the best fight of 2011, and perhaps one of the best fights in mixed martial arts history. Nearly finished by Henderson early in the fight, Rua battled back and nearly finished an exhausted Henderson late in the fight.
It’s been a bit of an up-and-down road for Rua since he came to the UFC from Pride in 2007. His UFC debut was a disappointing upset submission loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76. But he rebounded with a TKO win over Mark Coleman and a knockout of Chuck Liddell at UFC 97 to get a shot at Lyoto Machida’s light heavyweight title. In a controversial bit of judging, he dropped a unanimous decision that many observers believed he won. But he got a rematch and knocked Machida out in the first round at UFC 113.
After a lengthy injury layoff, Rua lost his title in his first defense to current champ Jon Jones. He rematched Griffin at UFC 134 and scored an impressive first-round knockout before the epic war with Henderson at UFC 139. There was talk that his next bout would come against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a rematch from a TKO win he had over him in their Pride days. But that bout is on the shelf thanks to surgery for Jackson.
Silva (14-3, 1 NC, 5-3, 1 NC UFC) earlier this month fought rising light heavyweight star Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of a UFC on Fuel TV card in Gustafsson’s Sweden home country. He hung with Gustafsson for three rounds, but dropped a unanimous decision. That fight was his first back after a yearlong suspension for steroids following his UFC 125 win over Brandon Vera, a victory that was overturned to a no contest after his positive test.
In the last four years, Silva has just one victory – a knockout of Keith Jardine at UFC 102. Along with the loss to Gustafsson and the no contest to Vera, Silva has a knockout loss to Machida and a decision loss to Rashad Evans on his resume in that stretch after starting his UFC career 4-0 with four stoppages and three first-round finishes.
Along with the Aldo-Koch title fight, UFC 149 also will feature a heavyweight bout between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo and a welterweight bout between Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama.