Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia (24-5) is indeed booked to return to action against Paul Buentello (27-10) at Affliction 3: "Trilogy" at the Honda Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 1, 2009.
The long-rumored bout was recently confirmed by MMAFanhouse.com with promotion officials.
Sylvia has been on the shelf since getting steamrolled by Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction "Banned" in July 2008. That's more than a year of inactivity, which could be a factor when "The Maine-iac" finally steps back into the ring on fight night.
He will, however, have a little tune up before his meeting with Buentello ... if that's what you want to call it.
Remember that Sylvia has agreed to box former Olympic gold medalist and world heavyweight boxing champion Ray Mercer — barely one month after "Merciless" turns 48 years of age — at Adrenaline III: "Bragging Rights" in Birmingham, Ala., on June 13.
Sylvia is on a two-fight losing skid and has dropped three of his last four contests. He'll need all the help he can get to ensure that he breaks out of his slump sooner rather than later.
Buentello was last seen using Kiril Sidelnikov's face as a human punching bag for almost three full rounds at Affliction 2: "Day of Reckoning" earlier this year. "The Headhunter" went on to eventually score a late third round technical knockout over the Russian Sambo specialist, who later tested positive for having banned substances in his system after the match.
This will be Buentello's third appearance under the Affliction banner -- he outpointed last minute replacement Gary Goodridge on the judges scorecards to earn a unanimous decision victory in the promotion's inaugural show in 2008. He was originally scheduled to face Aleksander Emelianenko, but the Russian was forced out of action after having trouble getting cleared by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).
Over his past 13 fights Buentello has only dropped two contests — one was for a shot at Andrei Arlovski’s UFC heavyweight title back at UFC 55 and the other was at the hands of Alistair Overeem last November on a Strikeforce card.
Affliction 3: "Trilogy" will feature a main event between WAMMA Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko and top-ranked division player, Josh Barnett. Former Dream middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi is also expected to make his fighting debut on American shores.
To check out the latest fight card and rumors for Affliction 3: "Trilogy" click here.