Inside the Venue: Philips Arena

By Brian Knapp Apr 19, 2012
A quick look inside Philips Arena, site of UFC 145 “Jones vs. Evans” on Saturday in Georgia ...

Location: Atlanta
Built: September 1999
Cost: $213.5 million
Seating Capacity: 18,371
Architect: Populous

The Ultimate Fighting Championship touches down in Atlanta for the first time since September 2008 when Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight crown against former friend and training partner Rashad Evans in the UFC 145 headliner on Saturday at Philips Arena. Five other bouts round out the main draw, pitting Rory MacDonald against Che Mills, Brendan Schaub against Ben Rothwell, Miguel Torres against Michael McDonald, Mark Hominick against Eddie Yagin and Mark Bocek against John Alessio.

Jones will enter the cage on a six-fight winning streak. The 24-year-old Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export last appeared at UFC 140 in December, when he choked Lyoto Machida unconscious with a second-round guillotine at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Evans, meanwhile, has strung together four wins in a row. The 32-year-old Imperial Athletics representative last competed at UFC on Fox 2 in January, when he cruised to a unanimous decision over Phil Davis at the United Center in Chicago. A return to Philips Arena undoubtedly stirs up fond memories for Evans, who delivered his signature performance at the venue: a violent second-round knockout on hall of famer Chuck Liddell at UFC 88.

Since it opened in 1999, 23 million patrons have visited Philips Arena. Resting on 4.4 acres in downtown Atlanta, the facility features 92 private suites, 1,866 club seats, 26 public restrooms and 23 food outlets. Philips Arena adjoins the CNN Center and sits within walking distance of the Georgia World Congress Center, the Georgia Dome, the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park. The entrance to the facility celebrates the city of Atlanta in unique fashion, as 65-foot high letters illuminated with fiber-optic lighting spell out “ATLANTA.” Philips Arena is home to the Atlanta Hawks, of the NBA, and the Atlanta Dream, of the NBA. It was designed by Populous, the same architectural firm responsible for Yankee Stadium in New York, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Target Field in Minneapolis and Olympic Stadium in London.

Philips Arena has played host to the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, the 2004 United States Figure Skating Championships and the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, as well as three World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views: 2002 “Royal Rumble,” 2007 “Backlash” and 2010 “Royal Rumble.” Nickelback (May 2), Neil Diamond (June 6), Coldplay (July 2), Aerosmith (July 26) and WWE “Hell in a Cell” (Oct. 28) will follow the UFC into the facility.
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