With “welterweight” card, UFC test drives 5-round non-title fight

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Mark Muñoz is favored to win on Saturday. Photo: Josh Hedges/UFC.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to England this Saturday the 5th, taking UFC 138 to Birmingham’s LG Arena. In the main event, Chris Leben, who is coming off a devastating win over Wanderlei Silva in just 27 seconds, and Mark Muñoz, whose last fight was a win over another Brazilian, Demian Maia.

The fighters are set star in the first five-round fight where a title is not on the line in the UFC. Also on the card, Thiago Alves takes on unbeaten Congolese Sweden-transplant Papy ‘Makombo’ Abedi, while Renan Barão stars in the co-main event against hometown boy Brad Pickett.

Leben and Muñoz face off in five-round affair

At 30 years of age, Chris Leben boasts a record of 22 wins, of which 12 came by way of knockout, in his 29-fight career that includes seven losses. The American is coming off a spectacular trouncing of Wanderlei Silva. In 2008, Leben was overcome by Michael Bisping via decision and was subsequently banned for steroid use. After returning to the event following suspension, Leben got back on track by winning four of the six fights he has had in the UFC since.

Now, Leben will face off with “The Filippino Wrecking Machine,” Mark Muñoz.

For the first time ever in a main event, Muñoz, 33, holds a respectable record of 11 wins, five by knockout, and just two losses. In his two-year UFC tenure, the Filippino, as he is called because of his ancestry, fought eight times and won on six occasions, the most recent being against Demian Maia at UFC 131. The middleweight has also fought under the WEC banner.

English hero in Renan Barão’s path

After making his UFC debut against Cole Escovedo last May, Brazil’s Renan Barão will be making his first appearance in a co-main event, facing local hero Brad Pickett in the bantamweight division. Having collected titles in Brazil, Barão signed with the WEC and won on his debut, submitting Anthony Leone in the third round. Six months later, he submitted Chris Cariaso, as well. The fighter has only lost once in 28 professional bouts. Should he win this time around, the Brazilian could line himself up to challenge Dominick Cruz for the title.

Angry Pitbull against first-timer

Brazil’s Thiago “Pitbull” Alves will also battle on the main card at the event in England. Thiago will have his hands full against Congolese-born naturalized Swede Papy “Makambo” Abedi, who is undefeated and will be making his UFC debut. Abedi is a judo black belt and promises to turn heads at welterweight. However solid Abedi’s background, Alves too has a solid MMA record that dates back to 2005. Of the 17 fights under his belt, he has won 13, 10 of which ended in a knockout. However, he’s coming off a points loss to Rick Story and won just one of his last four UFC fights.

UFC 138
Birmingham, Inglaterra
November 5, 2011

Chris Leben vs Mark Muñoz
Brad Pickett vs Renan Barão
Thiago Alves vs Papy Abedi
Terry Etim vs Edward Faaloloto
Anthony Perosh vs Cyrille Diabate

Under card

Justin Edwards vs John Maguire
Michihiro Omigawa vs Jason Young
Rob Broughton vs Phil De Fries
Chris Cope vs Che Mills
Chris Cariaso vs Vaughan Lee

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