UFC 138 fight card: Chris Leben vs Mark Munoz to make history in Birmingham

Photo of Chris Leben vs Mark Munoz staredown at UFC 138 weigh ins via UFC.com

Middleweights Chris Leben and Mark Munoz will go toe-to-toe later today (Nov. 5, 2011) in the UFC 138 main event, which is scheduled to take place at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England.

The 185-pound bout, one that will likely inch the winner closer to a future title shot against division champion Anderson Silva (behind Chael Sonnen and perhaps Michael Bisping, of course), signals the beginning and the near end of two important eras.

First, it will mark the first-ever five-round, non-title fight in the history of the promotion. Will it last 25 minutes? Probably not; however, it's the launch of yet another marketing measure that the promotion can unleash at any point moving forward to sweeten the pot and make its championship-less main events more attractive.

In addition,  "The Crippler" and the "Filipino Wrecking Machine" will hope to help finish what Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar started, serving as the second-to-last main event fight inside the Octagon that will air on Spike TV. It's been six long years of action-packed brawls, but it will all come to an end shortly after today (Dec. 3, 2011).

And despite their differences, UFC and Spike TV officials would undoubtedly like to go out the same way they came in -- with a BANG!

It's impossible to duplicate the performance and significance of the fight between Griffin and Bonnar back in 2005. That epic slobberknocker can't be touched for so many reasons.

In addition, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos -- who collide in the promotion's first-ever foray onto network television next weekend in their UFC on FOX 1 main event -- will have to assume the enormous responsibility of carrying that torch whether they like it or not.

Leben and Munoz, meanwhile, are expected to give fans an exciting, memorable fight. Both men hit hard and can finish fights at any moment. Leben has dynamite in his left hand, while Munoz's savage ground and pound can turn out anyone's lights quickly. Each fighter, especially Leben -- who admits he's closer to the end of his fighting career than its beginning -- is also motivated to move further up the divisional ranks.

On paper, it may not be the sexiest main event ever. But under the historical circumstances, Leben and Munoz have the opportunity to make magic happen on the Spike TV airwaves as the television partnership winds down.

Here is to hoping they're successful.

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