Brazil is the new frontier for mixed martial arts and Dana White is expecting a huge 2012.
There's already two cards tentatively planned for Brazil and this morning, during a UFC 142 press conference, the promotion announced the coaches for "The Ultimate Fighter Brazil." Brazilians Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva will coach and then fight at a later date in 2012.
Taping will begin after the UFC hits Rio de Janeiro on January 14, 2012.
"This show in the United States is huge — it's one of the longest-running reality shows," White said at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro. "It's incredibly popular, it's been huge for us there. We think it's going to be 1,000 times bigger in Brazil. The amount of talent that's in this country right now? There's an undiscovered Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Vitor Belfort or Wanderlei Silva."
The Silva-belfort fight is actually a long-awaited rematch. Belfort, 21 at the time, pulled a massive upset on Silva at UFC Brazil. Some much time has passed that Belfort doesn't view it as a rematch.
"I think the first fight was very quick, I couldn't perform as well as I wanted to," Silva said. "I think this is one of the biggest rematches in all of modern MMA and I'm very pleased to give this to my fans and to once again fight in Brazil. This is a dream."
Tryouts in Brazil kick off tomorrow with a cast announcement expected to arrive in early 2012. When will Silva and Belfort meet? Rumors say it may be on a summer card in a Sao Paolo stadium. That's also the rumored time for Anderson Silva to return.
There is some pressure on Belfort to keep full interest in this mega-fight in tact. He's one of the headliners at UFC 142 where faces an interesting test in Anthony Johnson.
The UFC has lined up Globo as its network in Brazil to air the new TUF. In the United States, it's still up in the air, but Fuel would seem like a smart spot for the international show to land.
Photos courtesy Twitter.com/MikeChiapetta and Marcelo Alonso