Surging light heavyweight contender Luis Cane (9-1) will likely get to sink his chops into the last man to hold the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 205-pound title, Steve Cantwell (7-1), at UFC 97 from The Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 18.
"Banha" was supposed to collide with Keith Jardine; however, "The Dean of Mean" now has bigger and better things to take care of, namely Quinton "Rampage" Jackson," after division champion Rashad Evans revealed he would not be ready in time for UFC 96 in March.
So it's Cane vs. Cantwell at UFC 97 and Jardine vs. Jackson at UFC 96.
Cane destroyed Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou via second round technical knockout at UFC 89: "Bisping vs. Leben" back in October. It was his second straight win — the Brazilian heel stopped Jason Lambert at UFC 85: "Bedlam" last June.
His only loss is to James Irvin, which was ruled a disqualification because of an errant knee to the face. The 27-year-old fighter is tough as nails and comes prepared to bang, which means that Cantwell ought to as well.
"Robot" finished Razak Al Hassan with a first round armbar in his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 16: "Fight for the Troops" in December 2008; however, the Iowa resident refused to tap, causing his elbow to buckle under the pressure.
It was a grisly scene made worse by the classless comments from Cantwell in wake of the win (he apologized to Al Hassan for the remarks shortly after their fight).
Cantwell is riding a four-fight win streak after suffering the first loss of his career to Brian Stann back in early 2007. He's stopped all four opponents on his current run, including a win against Stann in a rematch. In fact, Cantwell has never been the distance in eight professional mixed martial arts bouts, win or lose.
UFC 97 will likely feature middleweight champion Anderson Silva, defending his 185-pound strap against Thales Leites. Company President Dana White recently announced during the UFC 93 post-event press conference that Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua would also square off in the co-main event.
To check out the latest UFC 97 fight card and rumors click here.