Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (34-11-1-1) vs. Rich “Ace” Franklin (28-6-0-1)
This is a rematch between two formers champions, which may be a bit more exciting than the original main event between Wanderlei and Vitor. The first fight between Rich and Wanderlei was very entertaining and a fight of the night bonus winner. The roles have reversed in this fight though. When Rich and Wanderlei originally fought it was when Wanderlei had been beat up quite a few time, and he was trying to make a drop to 185. People were afraid he would get knocked out in the catchweight verses Rich, and his hopes of making a run at 185 dashed. Now that Rich has been on a cold streak and making the drop back down to 185, he needs the win to give some validation to a run at middleweight.
Rich Franklin has not had the best career since losing to Anderson Silva a second time. He went 4-3, and given all of his losses were to former champions, he has not retained the momentum he thought he would when he went up to 205. His home was always at 185, but with no need for a third fight to Anderson Silva he was forced to float around for big name headliners when champions could not fight. Now he has the chance to drop back down to middleweight, but it mat be hard to prove himself at the age of 37 and coming of a string of recent injuries.
Wanderlei Silva may be in a slightly more advantageous position than Franklin, but not by much. Silva went 1-5 before dropping to middleweight, where he is now 2-1. His only loss was a quick knockout to Chris Leben, which was sandwiched between wins over Cung Le and Michael Bisping. Wanderlei is known for his go for broke style, knees from the clinch, and knockout power. He showed he still retains some of his vintage form in the win over Le. The problem that Franklin poses is that he’s a southpaw, but unlike Cung, Franklin is a counter striker. Wanderlei cannot be as aggressive, because that is when Franklin works his game the best. Liddell may be the best example of that.
The Bottom Line: It may be almost three years since the first time these fighters have met, but beyond a few more years on this earth not much else has changed. Look for this fight not to go the distance, but for Franklin to earn a TKO victory by the end of the fourth round.