Monday, March 26, 2012 | 11:45 a.m.
- UFC announces a slew of bouts, including headliner for upcoming Las Vegas card
- Chael Sonnen praises Michael Bisping, trashes Anderson Silva
- Chael Sonnen show returns with Las Vegas as likely next stop
- Brazilians reign supreme at UFC 134
- Excerpts from Chael Sonnen’s UFC 133 question-and-answer session
- Despite loss, Chael Sonnen backed up the talk at UFC 117
- UFC coverage
UFC President Dana White is already referring to UFC 147 as “the biggest sporting event of the year.”
While that proclamation may sound too bold, no one would argue against the event serving as the biggest of the year for the UFC. The rematch between the best fighter in UFC history, Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC), and his only nemesis, Chael Sonnen (28-10-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC), finally has an official date and venue.
Silva vs. Sonnen II, a middleweight championship bout, takes place June 23 in Rio de Janeiro at Joao Havelange Stadium, site of the 2016 Olympics. As many as 80,000 fans will pack the soccer stadium, meaning UFC 147 will surpass UFC 129 as the company’s most attended card ever.
“UFC 147 will be the biggest,” White said. “The whole world wants to see this fight between Silva and Sonnen.”
The UFC has tried to book a rematch ever since but kept running into snags. Sonnen missed more than a year of action after a suspension from the California State Athletic Commission for elevated testosterone levels and a mortgage fraud conviction.
A shoulder injury, meanwhile, has sidelined Silva since a UFC 134 victory over Yushin Okami last August.
The bout was originally targeted for Sao Paulo on June 16. When the UFC couldn’t secure a large enough stadium, Rio de Janeiro received its third event in the last year.
Sonnen has antagonized Silva for years, routinely insulting the champion and his Brazilian heritage. Some have questioned the UFC’s decision to hold the event in Brazil, expressing fear for Sonnen’s safety.
The challenger, however, said he had no concerns after a victory over Michael Bisping in January.
“If those blowhards with their blow darts want to come at me, they can send anybody they want,” Sonnen said. “But don’t send anybody you want back.”