At this rate, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva may never fight. For the second time this year, a long-awaited grudge match between the TUF Brazil 3 coaches has been pushed back, now serving as the UFC 175 co-main event.
Silva and Sonnen initially planned on co-headlining the UFC’s annual Memorial Day event, behind the Vitor Belfort-Chris Weidman middleweight title bout. Belfort was replaced by Lyoto Machida and the whole match was transferred to UFC 175, set for Fourth of July weekend.
As a result, Silva-Sonnen was moved to the TUF Brazil 3 finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Ironically, their match will now leads up to the Machida-Weidman title match as it was supposed to for UFC 173.
Silva and Sonnen now have two extra months to get under each other’s skin. A simple discussion about respecting Brazilian fighters a few years ago had boiled over to one of the most anticipated matches in recent memory.
The two infamously got into an altercation on the TUF Brazil set on the first day of shooting. Sonnen has since called Silva “the worst fighter in the UFC” and continuously prods the Brazilian when given the spotlight. For his part, Silva has stayed relatively quiet. The July 5 match will be the first against each other.
Junior Dos Santos and Stipe Miocic have been tapped to replace Silva and Sonnen in the UFC Fight Night event, slated for May 31. The heavyweights were set to co-headline UFC 173.
It will be Dos Santos’ first fight since losing to Cain Velasquez at UFC 166 and the first fight in his native Brazil since signing with the UFC. The up-and-coming Miocic faces an immediate disadvantage, fighting in South America for the first time in his career.
As if these changes weren’t hectic enough, UFC President Dana White said he isn’t done making changes to the Memorial Day card. A bantamweight title fight between Renan Barao and T.J. Dillashaw will be the main event, and Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger expect to co-headline the show, but anything can change between now and May 24.