Fresh off a dominant win at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale, Chris Leben (20-6 MMA, 10-5 UFC) has agreed to replace injured Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) and fight Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in the co-headliner of next week's UFC 116 event.
A source close to the event told MMAjunkie.com
) Leben has agreed to the bout and is expected to sign shortly.
Leben scored a second-round TKO of Aaron Simpson on Saturday, and if signed, his fight with Akiyama will take place after a mere 12-day layoff.
UFC 116 takes place July 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Leben vs. Akiyama would take second billing on the night's pay-per-view broadcast behind a heavyweight title-unification bout between champ Brock Lesnar and interim title-holder Shane Carwin.
MMAjunkie.com passed along a report from MMAFighting.com
earlier today in which UFC president Dana White confirmed that Silva had cracked ribs and was forced to pull out of the fight.
Luckily for Leben, the Nevada State Athletic Commission did not issue him a medical suspension after the Simpson fight, in which he suffered minimal damage.
With the win, Leben improved to 4-2 over his past six fights. "The Ultimate Fighter 1" cast member posted three knockouts wins in the span (over Simpson, Terry Martin and Alessio Sakara).
Akiyama, meanwhile, has been inactive since his UFC debut this past July at UFC 100, where the DREAM and K-1 HERO's veteran defeated Alan Belcher via close split decision for his 11th straight victory.