Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Get ready to dial up the volume on the trash talk. The rematch pitting Chael Sonnen against Anderson Silva is officially on, and now we have a date and location. The long-awaited sequel to one of 2010's best fights will take place at UFC 147, scheduled for June 23 at Rio de Janeiro's Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, otherwise known as "Engenhão."
The information was released to the Brazilian news media by the UFC on Monday morning.
It will mark the UFC's third trip to Brazil since August 2011, but the first time the promotion has run an event in a soccer stadium.
Engenhão holds about 47,000 fans for soccer games, according to seating capacity charts, but the UFC should be able to increase that number substantially by adding seats on the pitch. The final number could threaten the promotion's all-time attendance record of 55,724, set less than one year ago at UFC 129 at Toronto's Rogers Centre.
The event will co-feature Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva.
Silva and Sonnen first fought in August 2010, with the challenger controlling nearly all of the first four rounds with takedowns and ground and pound. The fifth started off the same way, until Silva trapped him in a triangle/armbar combination, causing Sonnen to tapout with less than two minutes remaining.
Afterward, Sonnen was suspended when a drug screening found him to have an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, and follow-up testing revealed testosterone usage. Sonnen later claimed that he had divulged his usage to the commission and claimed a therapeutic use exemption, and the California state athletic commission ultimately reduced his suspension from 12 months to six months.
"I'm calling you out Silva, but we're upping the stakes," he said then. "I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever."
Sonnen later said the offer had expired, and that he didn't think Silva would ever face him again. Silva also went on the record saying he didn't believe Sonnen deserved a second crack at the belt. Now, we know the championship rematch will happen, but Sonnen will have to go on to Silva's home turf and win in hostile territory to claim the title he's long wanted.
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