UFC 179 to take place in World Cup stadium with potential for record crowd

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The UFC will return to Brazil in style after it was revealed today that they have agreed a deal to use one of the 2014 FIFA World Cup stadiums as host.

The Arena da Baixada played host to four World Cup games this year and is owned by Atletico Paranaense, whose chairman, Mario Celso Petraglia was the one to announce the deal.

The report, initially from Globo Esporte, said that the deal just has to be finalised and announced on the UFC's end and that it will take place on October 25th - meaning it plays host to UFC 179.

Who will headline?

There's been no confirmation yet from the UFC about who will fight at UFC 179 but rumours are abound already with Chris Weidman vs Vitor Belfort for the UFC Middleweight title a leading candidate.

The fight was initially planned to take place at UFC 175 but had to be cancelled after Belfort failed a drugs test and was replaced by Lyoto Machida.

UFC President, Dana White, has spoken of his interest in having the two fight each other in Brazil, which makes it a prime candidate.

The other major candidate is the Jose Aldo-Chad Mendes rematch that was planned for UFC 176 but the entire card was scrapped after Aldo suffered an injury and the UFC is yet to assign it a fresh date.

If either, or both, of these fights are the main event then they're likely to be joined by the return of Junior dos Santos, who hasn't fought since October last year, when he lost to Cain Velasquez.

Dos Santos was due to face Stipe Miocic in May, for the The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Final but pulled out with a hand injury and hasn't been matched with a fight since.

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Potential capacity

During it's four World Cup games, the Arena da Baixada had an average attendance of around 39,000 and can hold up to 41,000. But with the UFC utilising the pitch, it's said they could have 50,000 seats to fill.

They UFC has only sold more than 50,000 once in their history - UFC 129 in 2011, where they had Georges St-Pierre defending his Welterweight title against Jake Shields at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.

It's a bold move from the UFC and will be interesting to see if they can sell out the stadium. A stacked card would certainly help things but it seems as if it's more a test from the UFC before they move to bigger venues as the norm.

UFC 129 made them $12 million in gate revenue so it's no surprise why the UFC wants to expand but whether they can actually do it is the bigger question.

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Georges St-Pierre
Vitor Belfort

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