UFC Returns to Rio in October, Plans Aggressive Brazilian Expansion

Wanderlei Silva

Those who have complained about the number of events the UFC stages in Brazil are simply going to have to get used to it.

Mixed martial arts has exploded in the South American nation at the same time business has plateaued on the home front, so the UFC is going to double down on events in the sport's birthplace.

At Thursday's press conference for Saturday's UFC 147 card in Belo Horizonte featuring Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva, Marshall Zelzanik, head of the UFC's international department, said the company would return to the country in October with an event in Rio de Janeiro.

When asked when the UFC would return to the country, he said "The next event we will do this year will be in Rio. That will be in October."

No date, venue, or potential matches were mentioned for the event. Rio was the host of last August's UFC 134, in which Anderson Silva defeated Yushin Okami to retain the middleweight title, and January's UFC 142, where Jose Aldo knocked out Chad Mendes to retain the featherweight belt.

The October event would make three Brazilian UFC cards in 2012. But 2013 will bring even more, according to Zelzanik.

"Next year we're talking about potentially twice as many events in Brazil, if not more," he said. "We're trying to bring the events to different cities."

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