Though a beautiful thought while it lasted, the highly-anticipated rematch between UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva and colorful contender Chael Sonnen will no longer take place with the backdrop of a Brazilian soccer stadium filled 80,000 screaming fans. Rather, the title-tilt has indeed been shifted to UFC 148 in Las Vegas as had been rumored with UFC President Dana White confirming the news earlier today at a press conference.
A visibly upset Silva expressed disappointment over the decision but made it clear he would perform as expected. Sonnen shared his sentiments, stating he’d hoped to be part of a show with record-breaking attendance and was looking forward to beating “The Spider” in front of his fellow countrymen.
“My plan was to come here, take your money, my new belt, and go back to America. But instead I’m gonna have to wait. I’m gonna have to stomp him on July 7. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do,” spouted Sonnen after hyping the match-up as being “the biggest fight in the history of combat.”
The move in venue was forced after the United Nations scheduled a conference in the days preceding UFC 147 (where the two were originally set to scrap), straining Rio de Janeiro’s resources to the point an event so epic was no longer feasible.
On the bright side, while Silva-Sonnen II has been pulled from the June 23 lineup, the organization is looking at putting featherweight king Jose Aldo’s next championship defense on the card. The show will also feature Wanderlei Silva fighting Vitor Belfort, as well as Fabricio Werdum in action against Mike Russow and the finals of TUF Brasil.
As it currently stands UFC 148 is arguably the company’s deepest card to date with other scheduled bouts including Tito Ortiz-Forrest Griffin, Cung Le-Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping-Tim Boetsch, Dong Hyun Kim-Demian Maia, and Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber.
Watch the full press conference below including the customary face-off between opponents:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC