UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva makes the next defence of his title against rival Chael Sonnen when the Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to João Havelange Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The rematch, announced today, takes place at UFC 147 on June 23rd.
UFC officials hope to set a new attendance record with the event. The mark to beat of roughly 55,000 fans was set this past April at UFC 129 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. UFC 147 also features a second rematch when Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva battles Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort once again.
Silva (31-4-0) has reigned supreme atop the UFC middleweight division since capturing the promotion’s 185-pound title from Rich “Ace” Franklin over five years ago. He has won 15 straight fights against the division’s top contenders, but struggled throughout the first bout with Sonnen in August 2010. Down badly on the scorecards, Silva pulled off a fifth-round triangle armbar submission to vanquish Sonnen and defend his title in spectacular fashion. He has fought twice since the bout with Sonnen, with both fights ending in knockout wins for the champion. Most recently, Silva stopped top Japanese contender Yushin “Thunder” Okami at UFC 134.
Sonnen (27-11-1) employed a heavy dose of trash talking leading up to his first bout with Silva in hopes of throwing the champion off of his game. The strategy may have partly contributed to Sonnen’s success, but it was his takedowns and stifling ground control that kept Silva on the defensive for over four rounds at UFC 117. A single mistake cost Sonnen a victory in the fifth round and his career future came into question after a suspension for elevated levels of testosterone and fraud charges outside of the Octagon. He has since gotten himself back on track with back-to-back wins to set up the rematch with Silva in June.
The bitter rivals are expected to face off in the main event of UFC 147, which takes place at João Havelange Stadium – also known by its nickname Engenhão – in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The card also features the middleweight and lightweight finals of TUF Brasil and a rematch between TUF coaches Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva and Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)