mike-rio-2.jpgThe UFC’s return to Brazil now is official for May, along with a pair of newly booked fights.

“UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” is set for May 18 at Arena Jaragua, which is located in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. UFC officials on Tuesday made a formal announcement of the card and its current lineup of fights.

The main card of UFC on FX 8, featuring a middleweight bout between Brazilian favorite Vitor Belfort (22-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) and final Strikeforce 185-pound champ Luke Rockhold (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), airs on FX following prelims on FUEL TV and Facebook.

In addition to a slate of previously reported bouts for the card, the UFC announced bouts between lightweights Mike Rio (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Francisco Trinaldo (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and light heavyweights Roger Hollett (13-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Fabio Maldonado (18-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC).

Rio, a cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter Live” a year ago, returns for his second official UFC fight after a submission win over John Cofer at the TUF 16 Finale in December. That win gave him three straight, not counting his unofficial fights on “TUF.” He was injured on the show and couldn’t compete on Season 15's live finale, delaying his official debut with the promotion to December.

Trinaldo, a cast member of the first international “TUF” season in Brazil, looks for his second straight. All three of his UFC fights have been in his home country of Brazil, including a second-round submission of C.J. Keith in January at UFC on FX 7, giving him six wins in his past seven fights.

Hollett will try to get back on track after dropping his UFC debut this past September in Toronto to Matt Hamill at UFC 152. Hamill was returning from retirement and picked up a unanimous decision, snapping the Canadian’s five-fight win streak.

Maldonado is likely in a must-win situation. With three straight losses, the Brazilian will get one more shot. But a loss is likely to send him packing, especially with UFC President Dana White’s recent revelation that the promotion still needed to trim its roster by roughly 100 fighters this year. Maldonado won his UFC debut in October 2010, but since has dropped unanimous decisions to Kyle Kingsbury and Igor Pokrajac, then a doctor’s stoppage TKO loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC 153 in October. He was praised in that fight, however, for his ability to withstand what was a fairly brutal beating for 10 minutes before the stoppage.

The latest UFC on FX 8 card includes:

  • Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold
  • Constantinos Philippou vs. Ronaldo Souza
  • Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham
  • CB Dollaway vs. Cezar Ferreira
  • Lance Benoist vs. Paulo Thiago
  • Azamat Gashimov vs. John Lineker
  • Mike Rio vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • Roger Hollett vs. Fabio Maldonado

For more on “UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold,” stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Mike Rio)

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