The Ultimate Fighting Championship will apparently scrap a UFC 101 bout between former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin (16-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) and top contender Thiago Silva (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) in favor of a Griffin vs. Anderson Silva (24-4 MMA, 9-0 UFC) match-up.
Sources close to the organization today told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) a meeting was held last week to discuss the Anderson Silva vs. Griffin bout and that verbal agreements may now be in place.
Anderson Silva, fresh off a heavily criticized title defense over Thales Leites at UFC 97, will now move up a weight class for the non-title fight with Griffin.
Although not officially announced by the organization, UFC 101 takes place Aug. 8, most likely at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. The event also features a UFC lightweight title fight between title-holder B.J. Penn and top contender Kenny Florian.
Rumors of the potential Anderson Silva vs. Griffin bout began showing up last week after some cryptic emails were sent to a variety of MMA news outlets. The flames were fanned when seemingly unsubstantiated reports of the rumored fight were posted on a few MMA message boards over the weekend.
Although the fight is now close to official (but not signed), a source close to Thiago Silva told MMAjunkie.com the fighter was unaware his fight with Griffin had been scratched. Even as of this morning, the fighter was apparently under the impression he was still scheduled to fight Griffin at UFC 101.
MMAjunkie.com first reported in March that the UFC had lined up the Thiago Silva vs. Griffin fight, which many considered a bout that would determined the light heavyweight division's No. 1 contender after Quinton Jackson. Jackson is scheduled to fight the winner of a UFC 98 bout between current champ Evans and Lyoto Machida later this summer.
The source isn't sure if Thiago Silva will remain on the UFC 101 card with a new opponent or if he'll be shifted to another event.
As for Anderson Silva, UFC officials wasted no time scheduling him for his next fight. He most recently fought on April 18 as a headliner for UFC 97. He entered the fight as a significant favorite, and though he won a lopsided unanimous-decision victory, Anderson Silva was criticized for what seemed a conservative game plan in which he opted not to follow Leites, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, to the ground.
UFC President Dana White called the fight "embarrassing" and "disappointing," and he openly questioned if Anderson Silva needed another challenge at 205 pounds. The fighter, who picked up a UFC record ninth straight victory with the Leites win, moved up to 205 pounds in July 2008 for a non-title fight with James Irvin, and the Brazilian striker has made no secret of his intentions to move up a weight class again in the future.
The UFC has apparently obliged.