It is official.
One of the most anticipated rematches in mixed martial arts history will happen on June 23, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the 60,000-seat João Havelange Stadium.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced yesterday that Brazilian icon and UFC middleweight champion Anderson “Spider” Silva faces arguably the most hated man in Brazil, Chael Sonnen.
In 2010 Sonnen and Silva faced-off for the middleweight championship and, to the surprise of many, Sonnen controlled and dominated that fight before in the final minutes of the fifth and final round when Silva was able to apply a triangle choke and score a come-from-behind victory.
Fans have been clamoring for a rematch ever since.
The rematch was put on hold after Sonnen tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and was suspended.
Sonnen didn’t stay quiet though. He has consistently antagonized Silva, made fun of Brazil, and even declared that he actually won the initial match up and is the rightful champion.
Silva, a sensation in his native country and considered the best MMA fighter pound-for-pound, has not been amused.
After beating two top contenders in Brian Stann and Michael Bisping upon his return, Sonnen was granted his rematch.
“This will be the biggest sporting event of the year” said UFC President Dana White in a press release. “Bigger than the NFL, the NBA, you name it - UFC 147 will be the biggest. The whole world wants to see this fight between Silva and Sonnen.”
The UFC expects to break their attendance record of roughly 55,000 set last year in Toronto, Canada.