Among the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s characteristics is the ability to bolster tourism anywhere it sets up shop. Fans of the event find it easy to transit from city, state or country to see the show. At the fight between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas, for example, one couldn’t help but notice the large presence of Brazilians around the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino and in the arena.
Although in Brazil tickets will be offered at accessible rates, Dana White guarantees, the promotion is counting on a market with buying power. Hence the expectation that fans from all across Brazil will pack the HSBC Arena on August 27. All one has to do is scan the card to understand that it’s not going to be a party just for Rio de Janeiro locals, despite it being called UFC Rio.
Of course, a good portion of the fighters identify with the city, even though not all of them are from there, like Rodrigo Minotauro, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, José Aldo… All these big names are expected. So far, Anderson is the only one confirmed, while the others still have a chance to be there or have been vetoed, as is the case with Belfort.
On the other hand, some athletes not expected now figure on the card. While Brazilians are still calling for some big names, so far the card is an attraction for the entire Brazilian national territory.
Anderson identifies a lot with Rio, where he spends most of his time while in Brazil, but he came to fame in Curitiba and is a native of São Paulo, cheering for Corinthians soccer team. Luiz Banha is also from São Paulo. Shogun, a national hero, draws the public from the south, as do Thiago Tavares and knockout artist Maiquel Falcão.
The central-west is represented by Brasília’s Paulo Thiago, first announced on the Portal do Vale Tudo website. Another who lives in Rio, but hails from Minas Gerais, Rousimar Toquinho looks likely to make it onto the card, as GRACIEMAG.com found out. Now Edson Jr. is from the town of Nova Friburgo, in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro state.
A possible call up of José Aldo would boost the public from Amazonas state, while Minotauro draws those from Bahia. But the truth is, with all these names, folks will be coming from as far as Japan to watch; you can count on it.
Check out who is on the card so far:
UFC Rio (134)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
August 27, 2011
Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami
Maurício Shogun vs. Forrest Griffin
Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov
Paulo Thiago vs. David Mitchell
Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher
Edson Barboza Junior vs. Ross Pearson
Maiquel Falcão vs. Tom Lawlor