The highly anticipated light heavyweight grudge match between former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva and perennial contender Chael Sonnen officially has a date. UFC President Dana White, speaking during a Fox Sports 1 post-fight interview at UFC 169, confirmed that Sonnen vs. Silva will be the co-main event at UFC 173.
The event was officially announced earlier today, and will take place on May 24 in Las Vegas. It will be headlined by the highly anticipated middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.
Sonnen and Silva have had a simmering feud for the last two years, stemming back to comments Sonnen made about various Brazilian fighters like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Lyoto Machida. Sonnen, though, was hovering in and out of title contention while Wanderlei was struggling to get any wins at all.
That all changed, though, when "The Axe Murderer" knocked out Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel 8. With a renewed relevance, Silva began seeking out big fights, most notably one with "The American Gangster." He has ruthlessly stalked Sonnen for months now, and parlayed the bad blood into a coaching gig with Sonnen on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3.
Unlike The Ultimate Fighter: Season 17, though, where Sonnen ended up becoming downright courtly with should-have-been-rival (and light heavyweight champion) Jon Jones, the rivalry between Sonnen and Silva seems to be alive and well. White quipped days after taping started that the season has been "crazy" and numerous reports came out last week that the two traded blows on set.
The build-up to this fight has been intense, so we'll see if it can live up to the hype.