Brazil will play host to the UFC for the fourth time this year, as featherweight champion Jose Aldo will reportedly be defending his title against Anthony Pettis in Rio de Janeiro.
That's the latest word from Brazilian publication TATAME as relayed by Fightline, which seems to confirm that the future card will be set in the HSBC Arena. Going by the current list of planned UFC dates, it seems likely that this will mark UFC 163.
UFC president Dana White previously confirmed that August 3 would be the calendar target for Aldo's fifth consecutive title defense, stating last February that it didn't take too long to track the champion down and get him to commit to the bout.
Previously, White said that he met some resistance when Pettis requested and received a shot at Aldo's title, as "Scarface" allegedly said that "Showtime" didn't deserve to move down from the lightweight division right into title contention (via MMA Weekly):
Jose Aldo came out and said there’s no way in hell I'm fighting Pettis. He's absolutely refusing to fight Pettis; he doesn't think he deserves the shot.
I wouldn't want to fight Pettis either. He's absolutely refusing to fight Pettis. The fight is on. He's going to fight Pettis or he's not going to like how this turns out.
Pettis is currently coming off a strong run at 155 pounds, riding a 3-0 streak in the UFC that culminated with a stunning body kick KO against Donald Cerrone. Notably, it was the first time that "Cowboy" had ever been defeated on strikes in his 26-bout MMA career.
Early Call: Aldo or Pettis?
However, the champion will enter the match on an even longer winning streak, posting a 15-fight unbeaten stretch dating all the way back to May 2006.
Aldo's next bout will also mark his second appearance in Rio de Janeiro since joining the UFC after the company's World Extreme Cagefighting merger during October 2010. So far, the pound-for-pound Brazilian fighter has defeated a strong line of contenders (and a former UFC champion), including Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, Kenny Florian and Mark Hominick. Prior to that, Aldo also had an untouchable 8-0 run in the WEC, highlighted with championship victories over Urijah Faber and Mike Brown.
But Pettis is a former WEC champion himself, noted as both the last man to hold the WEC Lightweight Championship and one of only two men to ever defeat current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and tech writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld, PC World, 1UP, NVision, The Los Angeles Times, FightFans Radio, MMA Mania and Bleacher Report. Talk with him on Twitter.