Chael Sonnen is officially getting another shot at Anderson Silva's UFC middleweight title, and it's going to be in hostile territory. The UFC sent out a release to the Brazilian media today that confirmed UFC 147 for June 23rd in Joao Havelange Stadium (known as Engenhao) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Along with that bout, the TUF Brazil coaches fight between Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva was confirmed for the card as well. Here's what the release has to say:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® will return to Brazil for an epic sporting event as legendary fighters collide on the biggest fight card in UFC® history at UFC® 147 at Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on June 23, 2012. The largest crowd ever is expected for the highly anticipated rematch between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and American contender Chael Sonnen, a grudge match two years in the making. The event also features a live finale of The Ultimate Fighter Brasil™, the showdown between two Brazilians and icons of the sport – coaches Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva.
From the beginning of the negotiations for the UFC’s next event in the country, the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo both emerged as strong options to host the event. Engenhao, home to football club Botafogo and future venue for the 2016 Olympics, has hosted many legendary sports and entertainment events since its opening in 2007. The event marks the first time for a UFC event in a soccer stadium and the organization expects a record audience. The mark to beat is UFC 129, held in April of 2011 at Rogers Centre in Canada, which had a record attendance of 55,000 fans.
Silva and Sonnen first met at UFC 117 in one of the most revered fights in UFC history. Sonnen surprisingly controlled the first four rounds of the bout, only to be submitted by Silva in the fifth and final round. Sonnen has been campaigning for a rematch ever since, often taking shots at Brazil in the process. Belfort vs. Silva is also a rematch, with the first fight coming way back in 1998 at UFC Brazil. Belfort won by TKO in just 44 seconds.
According to the release tickets will go on sale in May, but an actual date isn't listed.