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Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva to headline Bellator pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden

Gallery Photo: UFC 175 Press Conference
Chael Sonnen will face Wanderlei Silva on pay per view for Bellator.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bellator has an historic card planned for later this year.

A grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will headline Bellator 180, a pay-per-view event set for Madison Square Garden, promotion officials confirmed with MMA Fighting on Monday. The Associated Press broke the news. The card will take place June 24 in New York City.

Sonnen and Silva have had a rivalry that dates back years. The two famously brawled during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil in 2014. They were supposed to fight in July of that year, but the bout was cancelled after Silva evaded a Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) drug test and Sonnen failed two drug tests. Both were ultimately suspended by the NAC and this will be Silva’s first fight back from the three-year ban.

Sonnen (29-15-1) stunningly signed with Bellator last year and fell to Tito Ortiz in his debut back in January. “The American Gangster” is a former two-time top UFC middleweight No. 1 contender and light heavyweight title challenger. Sonnen, 39, is one of the top-drawing fighters in MMA history, owed mostly to one of the best trash-talking games the sport has ever seen.

Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC) was supposed to return over the winter in the Rizin grand prix against Mirko Cro Cop, but was sidelined due to injury. The Brazilian star has not fought since March 2013. Silva, 40, has had a Hall of Fame-level career, beating the likes of Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson, Guy Mezger and Kazushi Sakuraba.

No other fights for Bellator 180 have been announced yet. It’ll be only the second Bellator pay-per-view event. The first, under previous promoter Bjorn Rebney, was in May 2014 and headlined by a fight between Quinton Jackson and Muhammed Lawal.

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