The search for UFC 147’s new home is over as UFC has booked a venue to host the event in Minas Gerais’ capital city: Belo Horizonte for the June 23rd event. After a schedule conflict with a United Nations summit meeting forced UFC 147 to relocate from Rio’s Joao Havelange Stadium and lose the main event bout between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen, the UFC was left scrambling to find a new venue.
IMX (the company UFC uses to produce its Brazilian events) has booked the Estadio Jornalista Felippe Drummond from June 18th through June 23rd. UFC officials visited the arena April 26th to ensure it would be able to handle the large production that goes into running a live UFC event and with the booking made by IMX, it appears the arena is well suited.
The Estadio Jornalista Felippe Drumond arena is the biggest indoor sporting arena in Brazil (with the ability to host 25,000) but is a far cry from the originally attended host for UFC 147; Rio’s Joao Havelange Stadium. When modified for an MMA event, the Joa Havelange Stadium was expected to fit 55,000 enabling the event to break live gate and attendance records for the UFC.
With a venue now booked, UFC now can focus on re-booking the card and drumming up new interest in the Brazilian event. As of now, the headlining bout for the event will be a rematch between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort who have been coaching on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. The bout is also a rematch from UFC’s first Brazilian event: UFC Brazil that took place on October 16th, 1998. In that bout, Vitor Belfort starched Wanderlei Silva, winning the bout by TKO only 44 seconds into the fight.
Also confirmed for the card are Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow and Milton Vieira vs. Felioe Arantes. The finals of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil are also expected to take place on the card which will be the final bouts for the featherweight and middleweight tournament. It is possible that Jose Aldo could defend his featherweight title against Erik Koch as the new main event for UFC 147, but the bout has not been confirmed at this time. If Aldo vs. Koch is booked, it will mark back to back title defenses in Aldo’s native home land.