Texas, Chicago and Las Vegas’ loss will apparently be Rio de Janeiro’s gain.
According to Brazilian website Tatame.com, Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena will play host to August’s UFC 163 – an event first reported by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that features featherweight champ Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) defending his title against Anthony Pettis (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC).
When the fight was first booked this past month, UFC President Dana White said that sites in Texas, Chicago, Las Vegas and Rio de Janeiro were all under consideration to host the event.
UFC executives have yet to make an official announcement regarding the fight card’s location, and multiple sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com that contracts have not yet been finalized. Still, it appears Rio de Janeiro is the leading candidate to host the card. If finalized, UFC 163 would mark the promotion’s fourth trip to the city in the past two years.
The bout marks Pettis’ first fight at 145 pounds, as he drops down from lightweight for the promise of an immediate title shot.
The 26-year-old Pettis is best known for his December 2010 win over current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the final event for the now-shuttered World Extreme Cagefighting promotion. In that bout, “Showtime” clinched a decision win by leaping off the cage wall and knocking down his opponent with a flying kick to the face. After dropping a decision to Clay Guida in his UFC debut, Pettis has since put together a three-fight win streak that includes back-to-back “Knockout of the Night” wins over top contenders Joe Lauzon and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Meanwhile, Brazilian striker Aldo boasts a 15-fight win streak and has not tasted defeat since 2005. He’s earned 11 career first-round stoppages and possesses some of the sharpest and most devastating muay Thai skills in the sport. Still, tae kwon do black belt Pettis believes he’s capable of upsetting the 26-year-old champ.
Should the location be made official, Aldo will have pulled headlining duties in two of the UFC’s trips to Rio de Janeiro, with Anderson Silva handling that role in the other two events.
For more on UFC 163, as well as the rest of the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Jose Aldo)