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UFC® middleweight champion Anderson Silva, arguably the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world, pound-for-pound, will move up in weight class for the first time when he jumps from middleweight to light heavyweight to fight James "The Sandman" Irvin (14-4-1) on Saturday, July 19 at The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.



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Las Vegas, NV (USA) -- UFC® middleweight champion Anderson Silva, arguably the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world, pound-for-pound, will move up in weight class for the first time when he jumps from middleweight to light heavyweight to fight James "The Sandman" Irvin (14-4-1) on Saturday, July 19 at The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Silva will square off against the hard-hitting Irvin, who knocked out Houston Alexander in a record-tying eight seconds this past April. Silva vs. Irvin will air LIVE - for the first time ever - on the East and West coast on Spike TV. The fight will be seen at 9:00pm ET and 6:00pm PT, free on Spike TV.

"There has never been a better time to be a mixed martial arts fan," said Dana White, UFC President. "You get to see Anderson Silva fight for the first time ever as a light heavyweight against James "The Sandman" Irvin, who just tied the record for fastest KO in UFC history with his destruction of Houston Alexander and whose flying knee KO of Terry Martin is an all-time highlight. Silva has been unstoppable in the middleweight division, and now he is looking to test the waters in the light heavyweight division. Fight fans on the West and East coast can see Silva vs. Irvin and a full lineup of great live matchups free on Spike TV Saturday, July 19."

Tickets for UFC® Fight Night™ Silva vs. Irvin are priced at $450.00, $300.00, $200.00, plus any additional box office or service fees, and are on sale now. Please visit any Ticketmaster location, call 702-474-4000 or visit to purchase tickets.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva burst onto the UFC scene with a devastating knockout of Chris Leben in June, 2006 which was seen live on Spike TV. A native of Curitiba, Brazil, Silva became UFC Middleweight champ with an impressive TKO over Rich Franklin at UFC 64 in October of 2006, and he has since made four title successful title defenses, with all victories coming via TKO or submission, including a recent win over former PRIDE champion Dan Henderson at UFC 82 in March. Silva, considered by many as the most dominant force the UFC middleweight division has ever seen, is now moving up in weight class to fight the dangerous knockout artist, James Irvin.

Nicknamed “The Sandman,” Irvin, has a propensity for putting his opponents to sleep in dynamic fashion. His flying knee against Terry Martin at UFC 54 in August of 2005 is legendary, and his aforementioned knockout of Alexander tied the record for fastest knockout in UFC history. Fighting out of Sacramento, CA, Irvin has won four out his last five UFC bouts, and a victory over the undefeated Silva would certainly be the career highlight thus far for the 29 year-old slugger.

On the undercard, it’s a battle of two of the rising stars in the heavyweight division as former Purdue University wrestler Jake O’Brien takes on Yuma, Arizona native Cain Velasquez. In January of 2007, O’Brien (10-1) spoiled the UFC debut of former PRIDE star Heath Herring with a third round decision victory telecast live on Spike TV. Now the skilled grappler from Indianapolis looks to spoil Velasquez’s national television debut on Spike. Velasquez (3-0) made a triumphant UFC debut in April with an impressive first round knockout of Brad Morris at UFC 83. A victory over O’Brien on Spike’s high-profile fight card will elevate his status among the sport’s top heavyweights.

Brandon “The Truth” Vera (8-2), fighting out of San Diego, CA, will be moving down in weight from heavyweight to light heavyweight (205 lbs) to fight Reese Andy, who is making his UFC debut. A victory over former UFC champ Frank Mir at UFC 65 in November of 2006 placed Vera in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. However, a decision loss against Tim Sylvia and a controversial defeat to Fabricio Werdum this past June at UFC 85 have triggered the 30 year-old to drop in weight class to fight at 205 lbs, where he will take on the University of Wyoming’s three-time All American wrestler and former IFL fighter Reese Andy (7-1). The Seattle native is on a four-fight winning streak and looks continue his winning ways against the veteran Vera.

Also on the card, two highly regarded lightweights will engage in a potential “Fight of the Night” candidate as Hermes Franca takes on Frankie Edgar. Franca (19-6), a 33 year old Brazilian fighting out of Florida, has won eight of his last nine bouts, including wins over Nate Diaz and Spencer Fisher.

Standing in Franca’s way is Frankie Edgar (8-1), a superb wrestler from New Jersey who stormed into the UFC with three straight wins in 2007 against highly regarded lightweights Tyson Griffin at UFC 67, Mark Bocek at UFC 74, and Spencer Fisher at UFC 78. Edgar’s last bout was a hard fought defeat at the hands of Gray Maynard in April, but with the lessons he learned in that bout, Edgar expects to be better than ever on July 18th.

In welterweight action, Anthony Johnson (5-1) looks to continue his rise up the division ladder as he squares off against Kevin Burns.

Johnson, an incredibly athletic striker from Dublin, GA, is coming off a devastating knockout win over “The Ultimate Fighter 6” finalist Tommy Speer in the first round of their bout this past April in Broomfield, CO. His other win in the UFC was a stunning 13-second knockout of Chad Reiner in June 2007, a fight he took on less than a week’s notice.

Burns (7-1) made his UFC debut as a late replacement for Ryo Chonan earlier this month at UFC 85 in London. The Iowa native upset veteran Roan Carneiro and earned “Submission of the Night” with his impressive triangle choke.

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