All the doubt surrounding the biggest rematch in mixed martial arts (MMA) history is no more.
That's because Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today released all the details for its upcoming blockbuster fight card in Brazil. The event: UFC 147: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2." The date: Sat., June 23, 2012. The time: 10 p.m. ET live on pay-per-view. The place: Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Yes, the world's largest fight promotion is expecting to shatter the record for live event attendance with its biggest show ever, both figuratively and literally. From the press release:
"This will be the biggest sporting event of the year" said UFC President Dana White. "Bigger than the NFL, the NBA, you name it - UFC 147 will be the biggest. The whole world wants to see this fight between Silva and Sonnen. We are broadcast in over 150 countries in 22 languages in half a billion homes. Wherever those fans are, they are going to be watching this fight."
Indeed, more than 55,000 fans packed the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to watch native son Georges St. Pierre defend his welterweight championship against Jake Shields back on April 29, 2011.
Chump change compared to what the promotion is hoping for this coming June. And they're putting their best foot forward as far as headlining attractions go.
Obviously, the rematch pitting Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva against his bitter arch-rival Chael Sonnen will be the marquee fight on the show. But the co-headliner also features an exciting showdown of Brazilian bangers in Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva.
This after they complete their coaching gigs on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil, which just kicked off its season last night. To stay up to date on all things TUF: Brazil click here.
The UFC breaks down the two big match-ups:
The rivalry between Anderson Silva (29-4-0) and Chael Sonnen (28-11-1) has produced the biggest grudge match in UFC history. The two bitter rivals first faced each other in August of 2010 at UFC 117 in Oakland, California. The battle featured arguably the biggest come-from-behind win ever; as Silva, who was being dominated from the beginning of the fight, submitted his American rival with a triangle choke in the last round. It was the seventh of nine title defenses for the Brazilian champion.
In what has been one of the long-awaited rematches in UFC history, Brazilian fans will also get a chance to witness Vitor Belfort (21-9-0) and Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) square off in the Octagon®. In their first meeting in 1998 in São Paulo, Belfort knocked out Silva 44 seconds into their fight. Since then, MMA fans have eagerly waited for over 10 years to witness the rematch between two legends of the sport. Belfort is coming off of a win over American fighter Anthony Johnson in UFC Rio (UFC 142), while Wanderlei dramatically knocked out opponent Cung Le at UFC 139.
In addition, it's expected the finals for TUF: Brazil will take place on this card. In short, this event is kind of a big deal, perhaps bigger than the previous two fight cards hell in Rio combined.
For all the latest and greatest news on UFC 147: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2" click here.