By James Hibberd
Updated October 27, 2011 at 04:30 PM EDT
Jesse James
Credit: Discovery

Huge news for American Chopper fans: Jesse James is returning to the network that made him famous to compete head-to-head against the Teutuls on American Chopper.

Marking his first appearance on Discovery Chanel in five years, the former Monster Garage star will guest star on Chopper across two nights in December. Not only that, but American Chopper is going live for the first time — pitting James, Paul Teutul, Senior and Paul Teutul Jr. in a bike-building battle at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

The face-off airs Dec. 5 and 6 at 9 p.m. both nights. The first night is the regularly scheduled American Chopper. You’ll see Senior, Junior and James building the bikes, and viewers will vote for their favorite. The second night is a live show from Las Vegas where the winning bike will be revealed.

For Chopper fans, this is the stuff of online message-board wish fulfillment. Jesse James’ documentary Motorcycle Mania helped launch the whole cable reality motorcycle craze back in 2000, whereas relative later-comer American Chopper helped bring the genre to a greater level in popularity. James then left Discovery and went on to other ventures, including his short-lived Spike TV series Jesse James is a Dead Man (and drawing international headlines for his divorce from Sandra Bullock).

Though James and the Teutuls respective motorcycle garage shows overlapped during James’ years at Discovery (Monster Garage ran from 2002-06; Chopper has aired since 2003), this event marks the first time the combustible personalities have gone head-to-head on one of the programs.