December is around the corner, but mixed martial arts fans aren’t counting down the days to the holiday celebration.
Instead, they are anticipating the rematch between Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champ Chris Weidman (10-0) and former champion Anderson Silva (33-5).
And South Florida fans can get a sneak peek of what to expect during an open workout with both fighters on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Klipsch Amphitheater in Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd.
The free event, part of the media tour for UFC 168, starts at 1 p.m.
UFC president Dana White, who will also be present, said this is a great opportunity for fans to interact with a future Hall of Famer and current champion.
“Fans and media will have the chance to watch them workout, and after they meet with the media, they’ll come down and take pictures and sign for the fans,” White responded via e-mail. “If you live in South Florida, you won’t want to miss this.”
Weidman and Silva meet at UFC 168 on Dec. 28 on pay-per-view.
White said Miami was a must stop for the media tour, which is making stops throughout the country and overseas.
“UFC 168 will be our biggest event of all time, so we had to make a stop in Miami because we do huge TV ratings and pay-per-view buys from Florida,” White said. “We know we have great fans in Miami, and we also have great support from the media there. It will give all of the UFC fans a chance to come and be a part of a huge event at Bayfront Park.”
Weidman beat Silva for the title in July. Weidman knocked out Silva who held the title for seven years.
The rematch could entice the largest audience to tune-in live worldwide.
“It’s going to be huge,” White said. “This is the biggest rematch in UFC history. Weidman ended Silva’s seven-year reign as champion when they fought in July. People were buzzing about this fight a month after it happened. Silva is arguably the greatest fighter of all-time, and he’s determined to get the title back.
“Plus, Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate are going to settle their rivalry in the co-main event. So UFC 168 is stacked. We always put together a huge card to end the year, but this one could be the biggest and best ever. I not only expect this to be the talk of the country. I also expect it to be the talk of the sports world all over the planet.”
The UFC hasn’t visited South Florida since last year.
White said: “We’re very interested in bringing an event to Miami next year.”
White also expressed his feelings toward the talent in the Sunshine State citing several training camps, where future title contenders sharpen their tools.
“Well, you obviously have a ton of great gyms based in Florida. You have Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Michael Johnson and Alistair Overeem training at the Blackzilians Gym,” White said. “You have guys like Antonio Silva, Thiago Alves, Dustin Poirier, Hector Lombard and others at American Top Team. It’s a great place to live and train; so that’s why you see more and more fighters basing their camps there. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see more UFC title contenders emerge from Florida in the future.”
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