A rematch nearly fifteen years in the making will take center stage this spring when UFC middleweights Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort each take the reins of an Ultimate Fighter team as part of the recently announced TUF: Brasil, then face off against each other in June to settle the score stemming from their first in-ring encounter.
The two immensely popular Brazilians fought in October 1998 at UFC 17.5 with “The Phenom” needing less than a minute to stop Silva with strikes. TUF: Brasil is set to start airing on March 25 and will feature featherweights/middleweights vying for a six-figure contract with the UFC and the right be called an Ultimate Fighter winner.
Belfort, who will still fight Anthony Johnson at UFC 142 as expected, explained he is still focused on picking up a win in January but is pumped to have been paired with Silva for the show.
“It’s a great honor to fight Wanderlei again. I see it as a new fight and not as a rematch,” said the 34-year old striker.
His excitement about the bout was shared by his opponent with Silva adding, “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I knew one day we would face each other again, and the time is here. This is one of the biggest rematches of all MMA and I’m very happy to give this to all of my fans.”
Silva has picked up wins in two of his last three fights, beating Michael Bisping and most recently Cung Le, while Belfort has gone 1-0 since falling to 185-pound title-holder Anderson Silva, picking up a brutal knockout over Yoshihiro Akiyama in August at UFC 133.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC