UFC moves Silva vs. Sonnen rematch to Las Vegas
Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen were supposed to rematch this summer in a football stadium in Brazil, but it’s not going to happen.
After initially trying to bring the fight to Sao Paulo, the UFC opted instead to relocate the epic encounter to the Joao Havelenge Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, making the contest the main event of UFC 147 on June 23.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning in Brazil, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the rumors are true: Silva and Sonnen will now face off as the main event of UFC 148 on July seventh in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Citing numerous challenges, but not going into specifics, White reiterated that is was the aim of the UFC to host the event in Brazil, but it was just not feasible.
The rest of the fights announced for the June 23 UFC 147 fight card are moving forward as planned, though a venue has not yet been secured.
At present, four fights have been confirmed, including a battle between TUF Brazil coaches Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, and a heavyweight contest pitting Fabricio Werdum against Mike Russow.
The event will also feature the final bout from each of the two weight classes featured this season on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
White also announced that Brazilian superstar and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo would hopefully be added to the upcoming show in Rio de Janeiro.
Originally tabbed to headline the UFC’s debut event in Calgary, Canada in July, Aldo thrilled the audience in Rio at UFC 142 in January, and would be a smart replacement selection in the wake of losing Anderson Silva.
The rematch between Silva and Sonnen has been one of the most anticipated fights in the entire sport since Sonnen nearly wrestled the UFC middleweight title away from Silva at UFC 177 in July 2010.
After talking a whole lot of mess about Silva and his training partners, and promising to put a beating on Silva unlike any we’d seen before, Sonnen did just that, only to be felled by his shoddy submission defence in the final round.
The fast-talking villain from West Linn, Oregon was then suspended for a year, but has since returned to garner wins over Brian Stann (UFC 136) and Michael Bisping (UFC on FOX 2).
While White acknowledged that Silva was disappointed not to be fighting in Brazil, you know he’s got to be chomping at the bit to get his hands on Sonnen this summer.
The respectful, soft-spoken middleweight champion who sports an unblemished 14-0 record in the UFCan class was injured in the first meeting, and still managed to come away with the victory.
Now that he’s healthy and there has been another two years’ worth of trash talk from Sonnen, you can be sure Silva will be looking to make an example out of his nemesis in July.
With the news of the Silva-Sonnen rematch joining the card, the already impressive line-up for UFC 148 has become a truly must-see collection of matches.
TUF Live coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are expected to square off in the co-main event, battling for Cruz’s bantamweight title for the second time while breaking the 1-1 tie in their long-standing rivalry.
A pair of middleweight bouts are already confirmed for the Fourth of July weekend fight: top 10 contenders Michael “The Count” Bisping and Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch will meet in one pairing, while veterans Rich “Ace” Franklin and Cung Le will square off in another.
Joining the pair of 185-pound contests will be the third career meeting between Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz, a bout that is expected to the be final fight of Ortiz’s career.
Also on the card is a bantamweight bout between surging Brazilian contender Renan Barao and Ivan Menjivar, and the welterweight debut of submission ace Demian Maia, who takes on South Korean judoka Dong Hyun Kim.
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