Inside the Venue: Wells Fargo Center

By Brian Knapp Aug 3, 2011
A quick look inside the Wells Fargo Center ...

Location: Philadelphia
Opened: August 1996
Cost: $210 million
Seating Capacity: 20,444
Architect: Ellerbe Becket

The Wells Fargo Center on Saturday will host its second Ultimate Fighting Championship event, as UFC 133 “Evans vs. Ortiz 2” descends upon Philadelphia. The show -- which airs on pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT -- will feature a rematch between former light heavyweight champions Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz. They fought to a draw at UFC 73 four years ago.

The remainder of the main card features a middleweight co-headliner pitting Vitor Belfort against Yoshihiro Akiyama, welterweight duels matching Dennis Hallman with Brian Ebersole and Rory MacDonald with Mike Pyle, plus a middleweight matchup between Jorge Rivera and Constantinos Philippou. Two preliminary bouts -- Matt Hamill vs. Alexander Gustafsson and Chad Mendes vs. Rani Yahya -- will air live on Spike TV at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The four remaining dark matches will stream on the UFC’s Facebook page.

Opened in August 1996 at a cost of $210 million, the Wells Fargo Center -- formerly the Wachovia Center -- is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, and Citizens Bank Park, home of MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies. The arena has 126 luxury suites, nearly 1,900 club seats and a variety of public and private restaurants and clubs. Since it opened its doors 15 years ago, the Wells Fargo Center has hosted a number of high-profile sporting events: the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, the 2001 NBA Finals, the 2002 NBA All-Star Game and the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals among them. The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers currently call the arena home.

In 2009, the Wells Fargo Center dipped its toes in major mixed martial arts waters for the first time with the arrival of UFC 101. The event featured then-UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn’s fourth-round rear-naked choke submission against Kenny Florian and middleweight king Anderson Silva’s stunning knockout against Forrest Griffin.

The “American Idol” Live tour (Aug. 17), the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour (Sept. 25), Foo Fighters (Nov. 10) and Disney on Ice (Dec. 22-31) will follow the UFC into the Wells Fargo Center.
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