As expected, a rematch between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort has been officially promoted to the main event of UFC 147, which takes place June 23 at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond.
Promotion officials confirmed the booking on Friday. UFC 147 was originally supposed to be headlined by a middleweight title rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen at Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. However, due to a logistics conflict with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, that matchup was transplanted to UFC 148, and UFC 147 will now take place in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
The venue, known as “Mineirinho,” is an indoor arena capable of housing 25,000 spectators. UFC 147 is expected to air on pay-per-view and marks the Las Vegas-based promotion’s third trip to Brazil in the last year. The event will also feature a heavyweight confrontation between Fabricio Werdum and Mike Russow.
"It's great for our fans and the UFC to hold events in new parts of Brazil. The UFC is exploding around the country, and Minas Gerais, and its third largest state, is an ideal place for this,” said Marshall Zelaznik, UFC director of international development, in the official release. Silva and Belfort currently oppose each other as coaches on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” but their rivalry stretches back much further than their time on the reality show. The countrymen first met in 1998 during the UFC’s inaugural Brazilian event, with Belfort blitzing Silva with a barrage of punches to earn a technical knockout in just 44 seconds.
Following their encounter, Silva would go on to rule the Pride Fighting Championships as the Japanese promotion’s longtime 205-pound titlist. Meanwhile, Belfort captured the UFC light heavyweight crown from Randy Couture before losing the belt back to “The Natural” in his first title defense in 2004.
More recently, “The Phenom” has won back-to-back fights since failing in his bid to capture the UFC lightweight title from Anderson Silva last year, while “The Axe Murderer” rebounded from a 27-second loss to Chris Leben this past July by knocking out former Strikeforce champion Cung Le in November.