The UFC is bringing a pay-per-view back to Brazil for the first quarter of 2016.
UFC senior vice president Giovani Decker announced late Saturday night that UFC 197 is official for March 5 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Decker made the news official at the post-fight press conference for UFC Fight Night 77.
The event will mark the sixth UFC pay-per-view to be held at the HSBC Arena since the promotion returned to Brazil in 2011 following a 13-year absence. That show, UFC 134, saw Anderson Silva defend his UFC middleweight title with an effortless second-round stoppage over Yushin Okami.
The UFC most recently visited Rio de Janeiro this past August, as bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey blew the doors off Brazilian challenger Bethe Correia with a memorable 34-second knockout in the night's main event.
The names of Silva and Vitor Belfort, who defeated Dan Henderson in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 77, were both floated as possibilities Saturday night for the March 5 pay-per-view, although Decker abstained from making any formal announcements.
Silva knocked out Belfort in Feb. 2011 at UFC 126 with one of the most famous finishes in mixed martial arts history -- a dazzling front kick to the face that has lived on in highlight reels ever since.
Silva is currently serving the final months of a one-year suspension after testing for positive for two anabolic steroids in a pre-fight drug screening for UFC 183. That suspension is scheduled to end on Jan. 31, 2016, meaning Silva would be free to compete at UFC 197 if necessary.
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