Even before UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin II takes place on Saturday night at Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the UFC is already mapping out plans for a return to the South American country.
It took the UFC nearly 13 years to finally return to Brazil in 2011, but company officials quickly learned that they’d found their newest hotbed market for the company.
UFC 147 is the second event this year in Brazil, although it is the first in Belo Horizonte, but it won’t be the last.
“The next event that we will do (in Brazil) later in the year, will likely be in Rio,” said UFC managing director of international business Marshall Zelaznik on Thursday. “That would be in October.”
Not only is a fall return eminent, but Zelaznik also stated that with all the success the promotion has had in Brazil, they are on schedule to possibly double their presence there in 2013. That would mean the possibility of up to six events in Brazil based off three events in 2012.
“And then for next year, we’re talking about potentially twice as many events in Brazil, if not more,” he added. “So you can expect that Bela Horizonte is in that mix along with all the other cities. We’re trying to bring the event to all of the country.”
Once the UFC returned to Brazil, they ramped up their presence rather quickly. While Canada had become the “mecca” of the sport for the UFC, and most thought the first international flavor of the popular Ultimate Fighter reality series would go to America’s neighbor to the North, Brazil’s stunning outpouring of support when the UFC went there earned it the first full international edition of TUF.
The middleweight and featherweight finals of TUF: Brazil will be part of the UFC 147 pay-per-view main card in support of the main event showdown between Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin.
There has been no word yet as to what fights or which fighters are being targeted for the October event penciled in for a return to Rio.