by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Tuesday announced its next two numbered events following its previously announced April 19 debut in Canada, dubbed UFC 83.
UFC 84 is now officially slated to take place on Saturday, May 24 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. UFC 85 is set for the O2 Arena in London on June 7.
It is interesting to note that while UFC 84 is listed as a “Pay-Per-View Live” event, UFC 85 is listed only as an “International Event” with a start time of Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET. With intense talk over the past few months of a possible broadcast television deal in the works, it is unclear if UFC 85 will be a pay-per-view event or if the promotion may have some other avenue to broadcast the event in the U.S.
The UFC currently has a television deal with Setanta Sports in the U.K. Although the original announcement of the deal called for the airing of four live UFC events in 2008 in the U.K. to begin in July, it has not been confirmed that the June 7 event is included.
Though no bouts were formally announced along with the dates, several bouts have already been speculated for both events.
UFC president Dana White has already talked publicly about the main event of UFC 84, B.J. Penn’s first lightweight title defense. Penn will face former champion Sean Sherk, who was stripped of his title following a suspension by the California State Athletic Commission for testing positive for steroids.
Tito Ortiz is expected to fulfill the final fight of his current contract with the UFC at the MGM Grand when he faces undefeated light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida.
Both Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Chuck Liddell have confirmed that they will face each other at UFC 85. Sources indicate that the bout will likely be the main event in London. Brock Lesnar is also expected to make his second appearance in the Octagon at the O2 Arena. Justin McCully has been talked about as a possible opponent.
Rumored UFC 84 bouts:
-B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk
-Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz
-Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva
-Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura
-Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva
-Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
-Rousimar Palhares vs. Ivan Salaverry
-Dong-hyun Kim vs. Jason Tan
-Terry Etim vs. Jeremy Stephens
-Shane Carwin vs. Christian Wellisch
Rumored UFC 85 bouts:
-Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Chuck Liddell
-Fabricio Werdum vs. Brandon Vera
-Marcus Davis vs. TBA
-Brock Lesnar vs. TBA