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UFC confirms Anderson Silva-Thales Leites for UFC 97

Anderson Silva's next middleweight title defense will be against fellow Brazilian Thales Leites at UFC 97 on April 18 in Montreal, Canada.

The UFC finally confirmed the long-signed fight on the UFC 94 "St-Pierre vs. Penn 2" pay-per-view broadcast.

A win for Silva (23-4) would give him the title of being the only fighter to win nine straight fights. Silva's last win was against Patrick Cote last October at UFC 90 in Chicago.

Leites (14-1) lost his UFC debut to Martin Kampmann but has since stringed together five straight Octagon wins.

UFC 97 will be co-headlined by a light-heavyweight bout between Chuck Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

UPDATE -- Here's the official release:


Las Vegas, NV (USA) ? The deafening cheers of the sold-out Montreal crowd still echo through the Bell Centre from UFC® 83. Now the Ultimate Fighting Championship® is heading back to Montreal with two more world-class matchups already inked.

Unstoppable UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will meet his toughest test to date when he faces submission specialist Thales Leites at UFC 97: Silva vs. Leites, live from the Bell Centre in Montreal Canada on Saturday, April 18. Also on the card, former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell will trade punches with another dangerous striker when he takes on Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

Tickets for UFC 97 will go on sale Saturday, February 14 at 10am ET and will be priced at $550, $400, $225, $150, $100 and $50. Tickets are available at the Bell Centre box office, by phone at (514) 790-2525 / 1-877-668-8269 or at To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (705) 739-7666. Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster locations and at or

UFC® Fight Club? members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Wednesday, February 11 at 10 a.m. PT via the website A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Friday, February 13 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through

UFC 97 will be available live on pay-per-view on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Communications and Viewer's Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).

In the world of mixed martial arts there is not a more feared striker than Anderson Silva (fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil). While posting an amazing eight fight win streak in the UFC, the 33-year-old champion has stopped seven of those eight fights within two rounds, with only Patrick Cote seeing daylight in Round 3 before the champion earned the TKO victory at UFC 90. With two impressive wins over former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, one over Nate Marquardt and a submission victory against former Pride® champion Dan Henderson, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is riding high heading into his match with Thales Leites.

"I'm looking forward to fighting in Montreal," Silva said. "I have a lot of Canadian fans. Thales is a very tough opponent, and it's going to be a great fight."

Winner of his last five UFC matches, 27-year-old Thales Leites (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is truly hitting his stride in the world of mixed martial arts. With a split decision victory against Marquardt, submission victories over Ryan Jensen and Floyd Sword and most recently Drew McFedries, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt could be Silva's greatest test on the ground to date.

"I feel great about this fight and I will be one hundred percent for sure." Leites said. "I did my job to get recognized by the UFC, and this will be the fight of my life. I know Anderson Silva is a very, very tough guy, but I know that I can do it."

There are a few names that are synonymous with the UFC and Chuck Liddell (fighting out of San Luis Obispo) is one of those. The former UFC light heavyweight champion is coming off a loss to the division's present title holder Rashad Evans and is looking to recapture the magic that saw him win an amazing 14 of 15 UFC matches from 1999-2006. The 39-year-old is now focused on getting back on another winning streak.

"I'm very excited about fighting Shogun," Liddell said. "It's another step in getting back my title. I'm going to hit him hard and I plan on knocking him out. The Canadian fans have been great for years. They are some of the most exciting fans in the world."

With an impressive resume overseas, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) is starting to make a name for himself in the UFC. The 27-year-old is coming off a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman at UFC 93 and is excited at the opportunity to fight a legend.

"It is an honor to fight Chuck Liddell, one of the greatest light heavyweights ever in the UFC," Rua said. "I have a lot of respect for him, and I am very excited to fight him. I like to keep myself challenged, and this fight with Chuck is definitely a big fight for me and for UFC fans."

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