MMAJunkie.com is reporting that a middleweight match up between Chris “The Crippler” Leben and Brian Stann could be in the works for the UFC’s annual New Year’s Eve card, this year falling on UFC 125. Apparently, sources privy to the situation have informed MMAJunkie that bout agreements have not yet been signed but that the bout has been verbally agreed upon.
Leben is an alumni of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and a veteran of sixteen UFC fights. After posting a five-fight win streak in his first five UFC fights, Leben was derailed by current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva via knockout in the first round of their Ultimate Fight Night 5. Leben would go back and forth over his next several UFC fights, balancing losses to Kalib Starnes, Jason MacDonald, Michael Bisping, and Jake Rosholt with wins over Jorge Santiago, Terry Martin, and Alessio Sakara. Leben is currently on a three-fight win streak having posted victories over Jay Silva, Aaron Simpson, and, most recently (a matter of weeks after defeating Simpson) Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Stann, a decorated member of the United States Marine Corps., holds a 3-2 record in the UFC. The former WEC light heavyweight champion, Stann has balanced victories over Steve Cantwell and Rodney Wallace with losses to Krzysztof Soszynski and Phil Davis. He recently dropped to middleweight where he took home a win and the Fight of the Night bonus over Mike Massenzio this past August at UFC On Versus 2: Jones Vs. Matyushenko.
The two gritty middleweights are expected to meet this January 1st at UFC 125 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also rumored for the card are two title fights, between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and number one contender Gray Maynard as well as a bout between middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and newly promoted number one contender Vitor Belfort.