The impending UFC: Rio fight card is filling up quickly with pattern matches between Brazilians and non-Brazilians.
UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva will be defending his strap against Yushin Okami, former UFC light heavyweight champs Mauricio Rua and Forrest Griffin will be fighting in a rematch of their UFC 76 meeting, lightweights Thiago Tavares and Spencer Fisher will be squaring off, Luiz Cane will be taking on Stanislav Nedkov and the fast-rising Edson Barboza will likely be taking on Pride legend Takanori Gomi.
In addition to those match ups, several prominent Brazilian fighters have expressed interest in competing on the card. Between the Nogueira brothers and Royce Gracie — and now Vitor Belfort — the UFC has no shortage of Brazilian talent with which to pack the UFC: Rio card. Belfort, fresh off of a spectacular knockout loss to Anderson Silva, recently told Tatame.com that fighting in his home country would be nothing short of a dream come true.
“Lorenzo (Fertitta) called me and said he’s trying to find me an opponent, but it’s hard to do it,” said Belfort. “Wanderlei (Silva) challenged me and then started talking thing on the internet, so I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m ready, my dream is to fight at UFC Rio,” Belfort said. “I believe the fighters found out that I’m hungrier than ever to fight.”
UFC: Rio is scheduled for August 27 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will mark the first time that the UFC has returned to Brazil since holding its first event in the country back in 1998 with UFC 17.5: Ultimate Brazil.