Yahoo! Sports has confirmed with UFC President Dana White that current Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will be making the jump to Light Heavyweight and fighting on their free July 19th card. UFC Fight Night 14 is scheduled to air on SpikeTV.
The announcement has not been officially made, however Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports confirmed the bout against James Irvin late Tuesday afternoon.
It has been speculated since Silva’s last victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 82 last March that he might be making a change in weight class due to the lack of competition in his current division. Although this is a temporary move, it very well could be a sign of things to come.
MMAWeekly.com also confirmed this bout with Irvin, as he told them that the contract was finalized and signed earlier today.
The UFC has also decided to move the Lightweight bout between Frankie Edgar and Hermes Franca to July 19th. This bout was initially scheduled to take place at UFC 87 on August 9th. Jake O’Brien is rumored to be added to this card against Cain Velasquez as well.
In addition to these three bouts, Brandon Vera will also be taking on Reese Andy. Vera is coming off a controversial loss to Fabricio Werdum in list last outing at UFC 85 earlier this month, where he and many others in the MMA community believed that the fight was stopped prematurely.
Regardless if Silva walks away victorious or not, he will still retain his Middleweight crown. However, White told Meltzer that if things go well, a possible bout against former Lightweight Champion Chuck Liddell at 205 pounds could happen down the line.
Rumors have been flying since yesterday that the UFC was planning a free event on the 19th to counter Affliction: Banned’s first MMA promotion that same day. With the announcement of multi-billionaire Donald Trump as the company’s Executive Vice President, Affliction may pose the largest threat to the UFC to date.