The UFC returns to Brazil on May 14, and the promotion is working on the possibility of holding 15 bouts on the UFC 198 pay-per-view card.
Headlined by heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum against Stipe Miocic, UFC 198 takes place at the Atletico Paranaense Stadium in Curitiba, and UFC general manager of Brazil Giovani Decker told Na Grade do MMA that six more match-ups could be added to the event.
"We’re trying to make it bigger, 15 fights, and it’s a bit complicated," Decker said, explaining that the Nevada Athletic Commission doesn’t allow more than 13 bouts per card.
Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) chairman Rafael Favetti told MMAFighting.com that CABMMA doesn’t prohibit more than 13 bouts per card, but the UFC should communicate its plans to the commission in advance. According to Favetti, the current plan for UFC 198 is 13 fights.
Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was also a possibility for the event, Decker confirmed, but finding an opponent has proved to be a difficult task.
"He asked to be in this event right after his fight (with Michael Bisping), but it’s too hard to find an opponent for Anderson," said Decker. "Not everyone wants to come to Brazil to fight an Anderson Silva, a Thomas Almeida, our top fighters, in a sold-out soccer stadium with fans chanting ‘uh, vai morrer’. It’s not easy."
According to Decker, 42,000 tickets will go on sale on March 30, and the promotion expects to have up to 48,000 fans inside the Atletico Paranaense Stadium on May 14. The UFC’s current attendance record in Brazil is 16,844 for UFC 153, which featured Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar in the main event.
"This is going to be most important MMA event in the history of Brazil," Decker said. "I believe this event will catch the attention of many MMA and UFC fans, but also those people that don’t follow the sport. It’s going to be a great event."
The promotion originally planned four events for Brazil in 2016, but Decker said that, due to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, they might only do two other trips to the country this year with Fight Night cards. Decker says he’s working on bringing a fourth event in 2016, likely a Fight Pass card.
Check out the current fight card for UFC 198.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic
Ronaldo Souza vs. Vitor Belfort
Patrick Cummins vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Matt Brown vs. Demian Maia
Bryan Barberena vs. Warlley Alves
Nate Marquardt vs. Thiago Santos
Leonardo Santos vs. Evan Dunham
Yancy Medeiros vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Kamaru Usman vs. Sergio Moraes