Though they were scheduled to meet at several different events in 2014, the only fight that Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva ever engaged in with one another was an impromptu brawl during The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3.
However, on June 24th, the pair will finally face-off inside a cage.
The Associated Press broke the news on Monday that Sonnen vs Silva will headline Bellator 180, an event which will mark the Scott Coker led promotion’s first foray into the New York market and it’s debut at the famed Madison Square Garden venue.
Sonnen(28-15-1) and Silva(35-12-1) were originally penciled in to fight at UFC 173 on May 24th 2014 but the bout was later rescheduled for the following week at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale. However, Dana White announced in April that the Brazilian had injured his back during the aforementioned TUF scuffle and the bout was once again rescheduled, this time for July and UFC 175.
But after Silva dodged a drug test, the fight was scrapped again. Wanderlei’s countryman Vitor Belfort stepped in to replace him, but Sonnen subsequently failed a pair of drug tests and was removed from the card entirely. Both men were later handed lengthy suspensions. By then, Sonnen had already announced his retirement.
Sonnen returned to action earlier this year, however. Making his debut under the Bellator banner, ‘The American Gangster’ took on another ageing legend in Tito Ortiz and lost via first-round submission. Both before and after that fight, though, the 39-year-old Sonnen made it clear that he wanted Silva, who had signed with Bellator in March 2016, in his next outing.
Bellator’s matchmakers were never going to disappoint the former UFC middleweight and light-heavyweight title challenger.
While Sonnen had a couple of minutes against Ortiz to shake off the ring rust that had accumulated during a three-year hiatus, the 40-year-old Silva will be stepping into action for the first time in over four years. His last outing was at UFC on Fuel 8 on March 2nd 2013, when he stopped Brian Stann in the second round of an absolute war.
Bellator 180 will be a Pay-per-view event in the United States, the promotion’s first since Bellator 120 in May of 2014. That event was headlined by Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s first tussle with Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal.