Bellator 180 will be hosted at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden on June 24. Company president Scott Coker announced on Monday that the show has officially booked a main event for the card and that it will feature Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva.
The two face off for the first time in their careers — a fight that has been years in the making.
Sonnen and Silva have never met in the cage before, but that hasn’t been due to a lack of effort. The previous time the two men were expected to meet in the Octagon came prior to UFC 175 in July 2014. From then on, both men’s fighting careers took a drastic downturn.
Before that fight, Silva pulled out due to a hand injury that he suffered from a fight with Sonnen during The Ultimate Fighter. Less than a month out from the fight, Sonnen was found to have failed a drug test, taking him off the UFC card in addition. Sonnen would go on to temporarily retire from the sport, while Silva was given a lifetime ban for failing to submit to drug tests. Silva’s lifetime suspension has since been overturned.
The last time Silva fought was in March 2013 when he defeated Brian Stann by knockout in his return to the light heavyweight division.
For Sonnen, he last stepped into the cage as recently as January in a submission loss to Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170. Prior to that, he had not fought since November 2013 and still has not won since August 2013, having gone 1-4 in his last five fights.