The confirmed date for the event is now June 23, 2012 and the venue chosen is Joao Havelange Stadium. This stadium (often referred to by it’s nickname “Engenhao”) is the first soccer stadium to host a UFC event. Home to the Botafogo Football (soccer) Club and host site for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Joao Havelange Stadium first opened it’s doors in June of 2007 .
The official capacity for a soccer game at Engenhao is 46,931, however UFC officials expect UFC 147 to surpass the 55,000 attendance record set at UFC 129 in Toronto’s Roger’s Centre.
The stadium is named after Joao Havelange, who served as FIFA President from 1974-1998.
UFC President Dana White released the following statement regarding UFC 147:
“This will be the biggest sporting event of the year. Bigger than the NFL, the NBA, you name it – UFC 147 will be the biggest. The whole world wants to see this fight between Silva and Sonnen. We are broadcast in over 150 countries in 22 languages in half a billion homes. Wherever those fans are, they are going to be watching this fight”
On top of the heavily hyped rematch between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Chael Sonnen, UFC 147 will also host a rematch between TUF Brazil coaches Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva. Their first fight at UFC 17.5, was also held in Brazil and resulted in a quick 44 second knockout victory for Belfort. That event, held on October 16th 1998, was the first UFC fight card ever held in Brazil. The promotion didn’t return to country until August 2011, nearly 13 years later.