UFC 173 will feature a USA vs. Brazil theme.
Hours after ESPN.com broke the news that Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort will headline the May 24th event in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White announced on FOX Sports 1 that Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva will serve as the evening's co-headliner.
Weidman (11-0) will be making his second defense of the UFC middleweight title when he meets Belfort (24-10), the former UFC light heavyweight champion. Weidman, of course, defeated Anderson Silva for the title last summer and won the rematch at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, when Silva suffered a horrific leg break.
"I beat Anderson Silva twice, the greatest of all-time, and now I have the opportunity to really solidify myself as champion by beating a different guy, so I'm pumped for that," Weidman told ESPN.
The controversial Belfort, meanwhile, won three fights via head-kick knockout in 2013 in Brazil while getting exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. Belfort was suspended for steroid use in Nevada in 2006 following a PRIDE event in Las Vegas, and it remains to be seen if he'll be granted a TRT exemption by the Nevada commission.
Sonnen vs. Silva, meanwhile, will serve as the coaches' fight at the end of "The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3," which will only be available in the United States via the UFC's online Fight Pass platform.
Sonnen (28-14), who is also a noted TRT user, has lost three of his past four fights, most recently a first-round loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 167. Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC), the former longtime PRIDE 205-pound champ, last fought in March, when he defeated Brian Stann via second-round TKO.
Silva and Sonnen made headlines earlier this week, as the duo reportedly got into a fight on the TUF: Brazil set.