This summer fans in Rio de Janeiro have been given a reason to dust off their vuvuzelas and come in full force, as outspoken critic of Brazil Chael Sonnen will be coming to town in hopes of pulling off a title-winning performance against national hero (and UFC middleweight champ) Anderson Silva inside a soccer stadium. While the bout had been rumored for months, as recently as last week Sonnen confessed publicly he hadn’t heard anything official. However, that has since changed with the UFC confirming the fight will take place on June 23 at UFC 147.
The venue, Engenhao Stadium, typically hosts the Botafogo soccer team and can seat over 60,000 people.
Silva has been out of action nursing injuries since fighting in Brazil this past August where he stopped Yushin Okami with strikes. He has recently resumed training full speed and will hope to build on a successful performance against Sonnen in their original meeting, albeit not necessarily a dominant one. The 31-4 pound-for-pound great was nearly outpointed by Sonnen due to an inability to stop his takedown attempts or land clean strikes, though “The Spider” of course memorably battled back in the fight’s final minutes to latch on to a submission and force the tap-out.
The 34-year old Sonnen has looked sharp since the loss, beating Michael Bisping and Brian Stann respectively. He holds an overall record of 27-11 with other notable instances of success including Okami, Nate Marquardt, and Dan Miller.
In addition to the bout determining a divisional champion, Silva vs. Sonnen II also provides a means to settle a personal score between the two talented 185ers spawned mainly by Sonnen’s disrespectful treatment of the popular Brazilian. Among many things, Sonnen has labeled Silva as a “phony” and notoriously brought up a scenario involving him smacking Silva’s wife’s backside while she cooked him a streak.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: Between this fight and Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort likely on the card as well I’ve got to imagine other MMA fans are excited as I am regarding the arena’s atmosphere. Not only will the crowd be record-setting but they’re going to be rowdy as well based on the match-ups. Add in the likelihood of other Brazilian stars in important pairings on the card and we’re talking “once in a lifetime” epic.