UFC president Dana White announced at a press conference in Rio de Janiero on Tuesday that the much-anticipated rematch has been moved from UFC 147 in Brazil to UFC 148 in Las Vegas, which means that instead of taking place on June 23, it will now take place on July 7. White cited the United Nations conference on sustainable development, which will take place June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro as the reason for the switch. After announcing the fight, the promotion quickly learned that they would have a very hard time booking hotels, rental cars and security due to the UN conference.
So as a result, Silva vs. Sonnen 2 will be the main event of the July 7 card, while Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III will serve as the co-main event. The UFC is still planning on holding an event in Brazil on June 23; however, White said they have yet to finalize the venue. That card will feature Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva 2, Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow, the featherweight and middleweight finals of TUF Brazil and, most likely, Jose Aldo vs. a yet to be announced opponent for the UFC featherweight title.
"(Silva) was very upset about this fight not happening in Brazil," White said. "He wanted this fight with Chael Sonnen to happen here. It took a lot of talking and I finally convinced Anderson to take this fight in Las Vegas."
Silva blamed the switch on the UFC's local promoter not understanding the scope of the promotion and the conflict a fight of this magnitude would present if it were held on the same week as the UN conference.
"I don't have fans only in Brazil but worldwide," Silva said. "So regardless of where this fight is, I'll be representing Brazil. I'll be doing my job for my fans and nothing will really change."
All of a sudden, UFC 148 becomes one of the most stacked cards in recent UFC history because not only will it be headlined Silva-Sonnen 2 and Cruz-Faber 3, it will also feature Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch and Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin 3.
"Look, Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world," Sonnen said. "This is the biggest fight in the history of combat: boxing, wrestling, fighting ... anything that's mano-a-mano, it's never been bigger than this. It's going to take place on July 7 in the biggest city, we're going to the fight capital of the world. We will be the biggest sporting event in the history of combat. My plan wasn't to walk into here and tell you guys we're not going to fight. My plan was to take your money, his belt and go back to America but instead I'm going to have to wait. I'm going to have to stomp him on July 7 and that's exactly what I'm going to do."