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Leben Out, Day In For Bisping at UFC 85

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - With legal issues preventing middleweight contender Chris Leben from being able to prepare sufficiently for a June 7th bout with Michael Bisping in London, England, Canada’s Jason ‘Dooms’ Day has stepped in to face ‘The Count’ in a featured bout on the UFC 85: Bedlam card at the O2 Arena.

"Obviously I was looking forward to the Leben fight but I guess it wasn't to be,” said Bisping. "You have to respect Jason Day for stepping in on even shorter notice than myself. I am looking forward to really putting on a great performance in London."
By Thomas Gerbasi

With legal issues preventing middleweight contender Chris Leben from being able to prepare sufficiently for a June 7th bout with Michael Bisping in London, England, Canada’s Jason ‘Dooms’ Day has stepped in to face ‘The Count’ in a featured bout on the UFC 85: Bedlam card at the O2 Arena.

"Obviously I was looking forward to the Leben fight but I guess it wasn't to be,” said Bisping. "You have to respect Jason Day for stepping in on even shorter notice than myself. I am looking forward to really putting on a great performance in London."

“I love this fight,” said Day. “Everybody’s been asking me who would I like to fight next, and I said Bisping, but who would have thought it would have come about so quickly. He’s a great fighter, an exciting fighter, tough as nails, and everybody wants that marquee fight where you get the guy that tests you and you slug it out for two or three rounds. I think he’s a pretty good test for me.”

Leben turned himself in to Clackamas County officials in Oregon last week in response to a probation violation on a 2005 DUI conviction. Leben was in the process of completing the terms of his probation when he moved from Oregon to Hawaii last year. Attempts to complete these terms in Hawaii were unsuccessful, leading to Leben’s decision to voluntarily turn himself in. On Thursday, he was sentenced to 35 days in jail. With time served, Leben will be released in late May, not leaving sufficient time to prepare for the Bisping bout.

Enter Lethbridge, Alberta’s Day (17-5), who made a spectacular debut in the Octagon in April as he stopped highly-touted Alan Belcher in the first round at UFC 83.

"Jason Day looked bloody dangerous in his fight with Belcher and I think this fight has exactly the same potential as the Leben fight to be a real war,” said Bisping.

Now looking to put another notch in his belt, the 29-year old Day – who also holds wins over UFC vets Jonathan Goulet, David Loiseau, and Ron Faircloth – will try to stall the title ambitions of UK superstar Bisping (16-1), whose middleweight debut win over Charles McCarthy on the same UFC 83 card has gotten fans buzzing.

“If you take a look at me and Bisping, we’re both well-rounded fighters, both very well-conditioned, and we both have a reputation for being tough and durable,” said Day. “So I think this has Fight of The Night written all over it, and maybe even Fight of The Year. I think it’s gonna be an awesome fight. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and it sounds like he’s not gonna take me lightly either.”

In the UFC 85 main event, welterweight legend Matt Hughes begins his run at an unprecedented third 170-pound title when he takes on Brazilian wrecking machine Thiago Alves. Tickets are on sale now.

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