The long-awaited match between former UFC champion Chuck Liddell and former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva will finally take place in December, UFC president Dana White announced at last night’s Spike TV Scream 2007 award show.
One can only assume that pressure from Spike, which is the UFC’s cable TV home, led to the announcement (deemed a “HUGE Announcement” in the UFC’s email newsletter) at this particular venue. If the anticipation of this announcement led one single person to watch the show without having a relative involved in it somehow, I suppose the tactic was a success. The rest of us were probably busy not caring about contrived genre award shows, so we had to settle for reading it on the internet.
It’s not exactly a surprise announcement since the Direct TV website has been displaying ads for this fight at UFC 79 for the past few days, but it’s exciting nonetheless. Hardcore fans have been waiting for this match for years. While some of the luster is gone after a recent string of defeats for both Liddell and Silva, their styles alone should make a for a great match even if it doesn’t have the title ramifications it once did.
When I was writing for Ninjastar.tv a couple of years back, Brad Monahan did an interview with Liddell where he discussed a potential fight with Silva. His prediction for the fight then — “It’s not that hard, we’ll just hit each other until one of us falls down” — still seems applicable now.
Silva’s ultra-aggressive striking style and Liddell’s powerful counter-striking style seem like a recipe for a great match whether there are belts at stake or not. In fact, it’s almost better that they’re both coming off losses. Instead of billing the match as a ‘Champion vs. Champion’ affair, now it becomes a bout to see who still has a future in the sport and who should think a little harder about retirement.
Add this match to the only other officially announced bout — Matt Serra vs. Matt Hughes for the welterweight title — and you have a hell of a fight card.
There’s no official word yet on whether the IFL Grand Prix finals will be a free lead-in on MyNetworkTV before the UFC event gets underway, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it works out that way.