Featured Post

Thank You, Axl Rotten (And R.I.P.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Anderson Silva To Fight James Irvin Live On Spike TV Saturday July 19

Courtesy of Spike TV:

Silva, The UFC's Middleweight Champ, To Fight As A Light Heavyweight For The First Time, Against The Hard-Hitting Veteran Irvin

NEW YORK, June 25 -- UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, arguably the best pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter in the world, will move up in weight-class for the first time from middleweight (185 lbs) to light heavyweight (205 lbs.) to fight James Irvin (14-4-1) live everywhere Saturday, July 19 at 9:00pm ET/ 6:00pm PT) on Spike TV. Emanating from The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, NV, Silva will square off against UFC veteran Irvin, who knocked out Houston Alexander in a record-tying eight seconds this past April.

Anderson "The Spider" Silva burst onto the UFC scene with a devastating knockout of Chris Leben in June 2006, seen live on Spike TV. The native of Curitiba, Brazil, Silva became UFC Middleweight champ by an impressive TKO over Rich Franklin at UFC 64 in October 2006. He has made four title defenses, all victories via TKO or submission, including most recently over former PRIDE champion, Dan Henderson at UFC 82 in March. Silva, considered by many the most dominant force the UFC middleweight division has ever seen, is now moving up in weight class to fight the dangerous knockout artist, James Irvin.

Nicknamed "The Sandman," Irvin, has a propensity for putting his opponents to sleep in dynamic fashion. His flying knee against Terry Martin in August 2005 at UFC 54 is legendary and his aforementioned knockout of Alexander tied the record for fastest knockout in UFC history. Fighting out of Sacramento, CA, Irvin has won four out of his last five UFC bouts but was recently scratched from UFC 85 in June after suffering a broken foot. A victory over the undefeated Silva would certainly be the career highlight thus far for the 29 year-old slugger.

On the undercard, a battle of two of the rising stars in the heavyweight division as former Purdue University standout wrestler, Jake O'Brien, takes on Yuma, Arizona native Cain Velasquez. In January 2007, O'Brien's (10-1) victory spoiled the UFC debut of former PRIDE star Heath Herring with a third round decision victory, telecast live on Spike TV. Now, the skilled grappler from Indianapolis, IN looks to spoil Velasquez's national television debut on Spike. Velasquez (3-0) made a triumphant UFC debut in April 2008 with an impressive first round knockout of Brad Morris at UFC 83. A victory over O'Brien in Spike's high-profile fight card will elevate his status among the sport's top heavyweights.

Brandon "The Truth" Vera (8-2), fighting out of San Diego, CA, will be moving down in weight class from heavyweight to light heavyweight (205 lbs) to fight Reese Andy, making his UFC debut. A victory over former UFC champ, Frank Mir in November, 2006 at UFC 65, placed Vera in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. However, two straight losses to Tim Sylvia at UFC 77 and a controversial defeat to Fabricio Werdum this past June at UFC 85, have triggered the 30 year-old to drop in weight class and fight at 205 lbs. Vera, a veteran of the Air Force, takes on three-time All American wrestler at the University of Wyoming and former IFL fighter, Reese Andy (7-1). The Seattle native is on a four-fight winning streak and looks to continue his winning ways against the veteran Vera.

Also on the card, two highly regarded lightweights will be looking to bounce back from tough decision losses in a potential "Fight of the Night" candidate as Hermes Franca takes on Frankie Edgar. Franca (18-6), a 33 year old Brazilian native fighting out of Jupiter, FL, had won eight straight mixed martial arts bouts prior to losing to then lightweight champion Sean Sherk at UFC 73 in Sacramento last summer.

Standing in Franca's way is Frankie Edgar (8-1), a superb boxer and wrestler from New Jersey who stormed into the UFC with three straight wins in 2007 against highly regarded lightweights Tyson Griffin at UFC 67, Mark Bocek at UFC 74 and Spencer Fisher at UFC 78. Edgar's last bout was a unanimous decision loss to Gray Maynard this past April. With both he and Franca coming off tough losses, their matchup of two hungry, aggressive fighters, will surely be an explosive one.

In welterweight action, Anthony Johnson (5-1) looks to continue his ascent in the division ranks as he squares off against Kevin Burns.

Johnson, an incredibly athletic striker from Dublin, GA who trains in Los Angeles, is coming off a highlight reel knockout win over "The Ultimate Fighter 6" finalist Tommy Speer in the first round of their bout this past April in Broomfield, CO. His other win in the UFC was a stunning 13-second knockout of Chad Reiner in June 2007, a fight he took with less than a week's notice. His two wins sandwich a second-round submission loss to Rich Clementi at UFC 76 in September 2007.

Burns (6-1) made his UFC debut as a late replacement for Ryo Chonan earlier this month at UFC 85 in London. The Iowa native upset veteran Roan Carneiro and earned "Submission of the Night" with his impressive triangle choke.

Spike TV is available in 96.1 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV's Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV's press site at http://www.spike.com/press.

CONTACT: David Schwarz, Spike TV, +1-212-767-8639, Jennifer Wenk, UFC-Las Vegas, +1-702-221-4790, Salil Gulati, Spike TV, +1-212-767-8705, Rachel Trontel, UFC-Las Vegas, +1-702-588-5516/