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Patrick Cote returns, fights Cung Le at UFC 148 on July 7 in Las Vegas

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Photo of Patrick Cote courtesy of <a href="http://www.cagetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cote-patrick.jpg">Sherdog.com</a>.
Photo of Patrick Cote courtesy of Sherdog.com.

Ladies and gentlemen, "The Predator" has returned.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight number one contender, Patrick Cote, who was released by the world's largest fight promotion following his unanimous decision loss to Tom Lawlor at UFC 121 back in Oct. 2010, is getting another crack at eight-sided infamy thanks to Vitor Belfort's broken hand.

With "The Phenom" out of UFC 147 next month in Brazil, Rich Franklin was yanked from his contest opposite Cung Le at UFC 148 on July 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada, to rematch Wanderlei Silva on short notice. That left the former Strikeforce middleweight champion without a date to the big dance in "Sin City."

Oh, hello Patrick.

MMAmania.com confirmed with sources north of the border that Cote has been tapped to fill in for "Ace" against the San Shou striker in what is sure to be joyous news for Canadian mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, many of whom have been pining for "The Predator's" return since his untimely release nearly two years ago.

Cote (16-7) reversed his three-fight losing streak in the best possible fashion: by winning his next four. That includes a blistering first round knockout over Gustavo Machado at Amazon Forest Combat 2 a few months back in Brazil.

He's back ... but is he here to stay?

UFC 148 will feature the long-awaited rematch between Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen in the main event of the evening, while Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao will be the co-featured fight of the night for the interim bantamweight belt.

Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz and Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia round out the pay-per-view (PPV) main card for one of the promotion's most anticipated event's of the 2012 season.

For more on UFC 148: "Sonnen vs. Silva 2" be sure to hit up our event archive right here. To check out the latest UFC 148 fight card and rumors click here.