(…let us never forget the Battle of the MGM Grand, and the brave American who gave his life that day. / Props: Facebook.com/ChaelSonnen)
As confirmed this weekend by UFC president Dana White, UFC 173: Weidman vs. Belfort (May 25th, Las Vegas) will be supported by another high-profile American vs. Brazilian rivalry. Fresh off their unsanctioned fight on the set of TUF Brazil 3, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will meet in the co-main event, at light-heavyweight. And for once, the phrase “grudge match” isn’t just promotional hot air; don’t expect these two to hug it out like homeboys after the fight is over.
Of course, there’s more at stake here than personal animosity. Wanderlei Silva has been competing professionally for over 17 years (!), and is coming off his bar-brawl KO of Brain Stann last March. A victory over Sonnen would give Silva two wins in a row for the first time in his UFC career. A loss would inevitably invoke calls for his retirement. That’s just the reality for a 37-year-old legend in a young man’s game.
Sonnen — who is a year younger than Silva and has been competing for nearly as long — recently got smoked by Rashad Evans at UFC 167. The American Gangster already has a promising broadcasting career in front of him, and a decisive loss against Wandy could speed up his transition out of the sport. So who are you pulling for?