A variety of news bites from the Ultimate Fighting Championship were released on December 15th that will set the stage for some events to come.
UFC is going back to Brazil
The biggest news of the day came from what some people may consider the motherland of mixed martial arts: Brazil. During a live conference that was hosted on numerous MMA media sites, UFC President Dana White, confirmed that the organization would be returning to Rio in 2011. Set for August 27th, the event will be held in the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
White and UFC CEO and Chairman, Lorenzo Fertitta were accompanied by a number of big name Brazilian UFC stars that included Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, Jose Aldo and Hall of Famer Royce Gracie. Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, was also in attendance and was even given a UFC belt for helping the organization return to his country.
None of the fights or ticket pricing information was released at that time. White did confirm, however that tickets will go on sale in May and that a fan expo will preclude the event. With 36 fighters who are originally from Brazilian with current UFC contracts, White believes many of them will be interested in having a spot on the card.
“Believe me when I tell you, we’re gonna bring you a good card and you will have you Brazilian favorites on the card, I guarantee you,” said White.
This is the first time the UFC has been in Brazil since, UFC 17.5 in 1998.
March Abu Dhabi Plans Nixed
In an interesting note, it was reported by MMAfighting.com that a March UFC event to be held in Abu Dhabi has been canceled. While it has not been officially reported by the organization itself, a confidential source alerted the outlet of the change in plans.
The UFC first traveled to Abu Dhabi in April of 2010 with a card that saw current lightweight champion Frankie Edgar shock the world when he walked away with the championship by defeating legend BJ Penn.
UFC 129 Venue and Fights Announced
It has been reported that UFC 129 will take place in Newark, New Jersey on March 19th. This may be a result of the cancellation of the Abu Dhabi event, but that has yet to have been confirmed by the UFC itself.
On this card, fans will get to see the long anticipated matchup between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and the number one contender Rashad Evans. Rua will be making his first title defense since winning the belt by knocking out Lyoto Machida at UFC 113. Evans earned a shot to regain his title by defeating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 114. This fight was delayed due to Rua having to recover from knee surgery.
A second fight was announced on Wednesday, as New Jersey native Kurt Pellegrino will be fighting in front of his hometown crowd. Pellegrino was last seen when he was defeated by George Sotiropoulos at UFC 116. Before that fight he was on a four fight win streak in the UFC. His opponent for the evening will be Gleison Tibau. Tibau will also look to get back on the winning track as he suffered a defeat by Jim Miller at UFC Fight Night 22. Tibau’s resume includes wins over Josh Neer, Terry Etim and Caol Uno, among others.
You can also follow The MMA Zone on Twitter here.