Contrary to what Chael Sonnen professed on the red carpet at Wednesday’s 2011 World MMA Awards, the controversial middleweight will in fact be fighting Mark Munoz in the UFC’s return to primetime television.
The United Center in Chicago, Illinois will host their top contender shootout. Unlike the UFC’s hour-long premiere on FOX, the January 28th broadcast is expected to run two hours and showcase four live fights.
Munoz violently bumped his record to 12-2 last month by posting a 2ndRound TKO victory over Chris Leben at UFC 138. “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” has won seven out of his past eight bouts and is perfect through his last four Octagon scraps.
Sonnen ended his year-long drug suspension in dominating fashion by disposing of Brian Stann at UFC 136. Following the October victory, Sonnen tried to goad Silva into a rematch by issuing a loser-leaves-town challenge.
After manhandling Silva for nearly five complete rounds at UFC 117, Sonnen was abruptly submitted with only 110 ticks remaining on the clock. Since the August 2010 defeat, Sonnen has been doing everything within his power to land a mulligan.
Although UFC president Dana White previously said Sonnen would get next dibs at Silva’s title, White reported a couple of weekends ago that “The Spider’s” injured shoulder could have him shelved until June of 2012.
Munoz and Sonnen will serve as the opening act for a light heavyweight top contender contest between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis.
Here are the athletes scheduled to perform in The Windy City:
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow
Demetrious Johnson vs. Eddie Wineland
Evan Dunham vs. Paul Sass
Mark Munoz vs. Chael Sonnen
Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans