MMA: UFC 69
A quick look inside the Toyota Center ...Location: Houston
Opened: October 2003
Cost: 202 million
Seating Capacity: 19,000
Architect: Morris Architects
For mixed martial arts enthusiasts, the Toyota Center in Houston will be forever linked to one of their sport’s greatest upsets. It was there on a Saturday night in April 2007 that “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 4 winner Matt Serra shocked the world at UFC 69, stopped Georges St. Pierre on first-round punches and captured the welterweight championship.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the arena for the first time since that landmark moment when UFC 136 “Edgar vs. Maynard 3” touches down in Space City on Saturday with a pair of five-round title fights. In the main event, lightweight champion Frankie Edgar puts his 155-pound crown on the line against the unbeaten Gray Maynard in a rematch of their epic New Year’s Day encounter. Meanwhile, featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo defends his belt against two-time lightweight title contender Kenny Florian in the co-headliner.
A 750,000-square-foot facility designed by Morris Architects, the Toyota Center opened in 2003 at a cost of $202 million. It required 45,000 cubic yards of concrete, 3,040 tons of structural steel, 350,000 masonry blocks, 650,000 square feet of drywall and the expertise of an estimated 2,500 workers to construct. Toyota agreed to pay $100 million for naming rights to the arena, which serves as the home venue for the NBA’s Houston Rockets and the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros.
A 40-by-32-foot video system, which includes four main replay screens and eight other full-color displays, hangs from the arena’s ceiling and touts the highest-resolution display of any North American sports facility. The Toyota Center features the Red and White Bistro on the Lower Suites level, complete with hardwood floors, a sparkling display kitchen and views of the event. The facility also has two food courts on the main concourse and another on the upper concourse.
The WWE Supershow (Oct. 25), Guns N’ Roses (Nov. 4), Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 23) and the Harlem Globetrotters (Jan. 28-29) will follow the UFC into the Toyota Center.