Chris Leben (left) and Mark Munoz (right) will do battle at UFC 138. | Photo: Sherdog.com
In the first five-round non-title bout in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, Chris Leben and his jackhammer of a left hand will lock horns with 2001 NCAA wrestling champion and surging middleweight contender Mark Munoz.
Leben tipped the scales at 186 pounds for his duel with Munoz (186) in the UFC 138 main event on Saturday at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England, as the promotion touches down in the United Kingdom for the first time since October 2010. The eight others slated for main card duty, bantamweight co-headliners Brad Pickett (134) and Renan Barao (136) among them, also met their contracted weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in.
A former WEC champion, Leben last appeared at UFC 132 in July, when he needed less than half a minute to blast through Brazilian icon Wanderlei Silva at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The 31-year-old Portland, Ore., native has secured 12 of his 22 professional victories by knockout or technical knockout. Wins over American Kickboxing Academy standout Mike Swick, onetime Sengoku Raiden Championship middleweight titleholder Jorge Santiago and Dream veteran Yoshihiro Akiyama anchor his resume.
Munoz will carry a three-fight winning streak into the bout. The 33-year-old has not fought since UFC 131 in June, when he outpointed 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Demian Maia by unanimous decision at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Munoz, a married father of four based in California, was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University.
UFC 138 “Leben vs. Munoz” -- which Spike TV will air via same-day tape delay at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Saturday -- will also feature a welterweight tilt pairing American Top Team’s Thiago Alves (*171) with unbeaten newcomer Papy Abedi (170), a lightweight match pitting three-time “Submission of the Night” award winner Terry Etim (155) against Eddie Faaloloto (156) and a light heavyweight battle matching French kickboxer Cyrille Diabate (206) with Anthony Perosh (205).
Meanwhile, the five remaining bouts will be streamed live on the UFC’s Facebook page at 12:50 p.m. ET/9:50 a.m. PT: John Maguire (170) vs. Justin Edwards (170), Michihiro Omigawa (145) vs. Jason Young (145), Rob Broughton (258) vs. Philip De Fries (243), Chris Cope (170) vs. Che Mills (169) and Chris Cariaso (135) vs. Vaughan Lee (135).
UFC 138 “Leben vs. Munoz”
Saturday, Nov. 5
Chris Leben (186) vs. Mark Munoz (186)
Brad Pickett (134) vs. Renan Barao (136)
Thiago Alves (*171) vs. Papy Abedi (170)
Terry Etim (155) vs. Eddie Faaloloto (156)
Cyrille Diabate (206) vs. Anthony Perosh (205)
John Maguire (170) vs. Justin Edwards (170)
Michihiro Omigawa (145) vs. Jason Young (145)
Rob Broughton (258) vs. Philip De Fries (243)
Chris Cope (170) vs. Che Mills (169)
Chris Cariaso (135) vs. Vaughan Lee (135)
Thiago Alves initially missed weight, but successfully hit 171 pounds on his second attempt.