MMAJunkie.com is reporting that the middleweight bout between everyone’s favorite hard-hitting delinquent Chris Leben (19-6) and undefeated prospect Aaron Simpson (7-0) that was originally scheduled to appear somewhere on the UFC 114 card in Las Vegas has been rescheduled for the main card of “The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale”. The TUF 11 Finale will also take place in Las Vegas but it will go down at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort as opposed to the MGM Grand Garden Arena where UFC 114 will be held.
The two middleweights will receive an extra few weeks of training time as UFC 114 takes place on May 29th; exactly three weeks before the June 19th finale show.
NCAA All-American wrestler Aaron Simpson is currently enjoying a seven fight win streak in seven pro fights, with only one of those fights having gone the distance. Somewhat unfortunately for Simpson is the fact that that lone decision came in his latest Octagon outing, a January 11th bout at “UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard Vs. Diaz” against Tom Lawlor that many think should have gone to Lawlor. In a sport where you are only as good as your last performance, Simpson will no doubt try to prove the doubters wrong when he takes on the iron-jawed Leben on June 19th.
Chris Leben, a first season ‘TUF’ alum, gained more renown at first for his on-camera antics and controversy-prone persona than for his fighting ability. That balance quickly reversed when Leben racked up five wins in a row in the UFC over tough competition, showing well-rounded skills in the process. Leben was then chosen to serve as Octagon welcomer to Anderson Silva in a fight that would add another few seconds to Silva’s highlight reel and do a little bit to tarnish Leben’s reputation for having a chin made of granite.
“The Crippler’s” career would fluctuate after that knockout loss and five fights later the same recklessness that bred the ‘TUF’ era controversy that helped build his name would follow him into the Octagon for a bout with Michael Bisping. Leben was arrested for DUI and probation violation in the lead-up to the fight; forcing his scheduled bout with Bisping to be moved from UFC 85 to UFC 89. Following his unanimous decision loss to Bisping, Leben would test positive for Stanozolol, a banned substance, and would get fined and slapped with a nine month suspension. In his return fight against Jake Rosholt, Leben appeared a bloated shell of his former self and succumbed to a third round arm triangle submission. Things looked bleak for the man formerly known as “Cat Smasher” and he was all but written off when he stepped in the cage against Brazilian Jay Silva at “UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard Vs. Diaz”. In that, his most recent Octagon appearance, Leben would prove his relevancy by beating Silva via unanimous decision and looking pretty good in the process. While few consider him a world beater at this point, Leben still has much to offer the middleweight division and it will be interesting to see if he can force an upswing in his tumultuous career by defeating Simpson.