UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (21-4) will take a temporary leave of absence from the division he has all but cleared out and move up to light heavyweight to challenge James Irvin (14-4) during the main event at the newly-minted UFC Fight Night 14 at The Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 19.
Win or lose the "Spider" will retain his middleweight crown and likely still defend it in the near future, according to Yahoo!Sports.com.
It's an interesting twist to say the least, considering Silva had been recently linked to a blockbuster bout with former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell. That's a showdown that can still happen; however, for now the "Sandman" gets the unenviable task of taking on Silva.
Irvin rebounded from an injury-riddled and bizarre 2007 fight campaign, during which he blew out his knee in a loss to Thiago Silva and was knocked silly courtesy of an errant Luis Arthur Cane knee that resulted in a disqualification win, to knockout Houston Alexander in record time at UFC Fight Night 13 this April.
He was supposed to take on Rashad Evans at UFC 85: "Bedlam" earlier this month; however, he had to withdraw because he broke several toes while training for the bout. Irvin boasts a 4-3 record inside the Octagon.
Silva, on the other hand, has stopped every single fighter put in front of him since his UFC debut in 2006, including Chris Leben, Rich Franklin (twice), Travis Lutter, Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson. It's a ridiculous hit list to say the least.
There's really only one man in the division remaining, Yushin Okami, who he has not defended against and has worked his way toward a title shot. In fact, Okami holds a controversial win over the Brazilian from back in 2006.
Perhaps that will happen sometime soon ... just not next.
In addition to the main event between Silva and Irvin, the UFC is working overtime to put together a card in five weeks that will get people to tune in to Spike TV.
Here's the latest we have so far:
Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin
Frank Edgar vs. Hermes Franca (moved from UFC 87)
Cain Velasquez vs. TBA
Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns
Stay tuned for more details, including whether or not Brandon Vera will still co headline the card as previously mentioned. These fight announcements should come fast and furious.
The previously announced Ultimate Fight Night 14 on September 17 from Omaha, Nebraska, on September 17 will likely be renamed to UFC Fight Night 15.