UFC 99 is aptly titled The Comeback. Former Pride FC and UFC champions, Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin headline the big event. Will Saturday be the start of a new chapter for the Axe Murderer in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or the end or a brutal era?
I would dare say that Waderlei Silva is probably my favorite MMA fighter. I have been a huge fan of the Axe Murderer going back to his early Pride FC days. I always loved the fact that Wanderlei showed up to fight, no excuses, and no surrender. Since coming to UFC, Wanderlei has brought the fights minus the winning record.
In Pride FC, Wanderlei fought everyone at any weight, and with great success. For five years, he was arguably the best fighter in the game. Silva held the Pride FC Middleweight title from 2001 through the last show in 2007. Silva is also a Pride FC Grand Prix winner, defeating Rampage Jackson with brutal knees in the finals.
After years of negotiations, Silva finally returned to the UFC at UFC 71 after Pride FC was sold. Silva jumped right into UFC fighting Chuck Liddell. Silva lived up to all of the hype, fighting a three-round classic. At the end of the day, unfortunately the fight was a loss for Silva.
Since returning to UFC, Silva has gone 1-2 with losses to Rampage Jackson and Chuck Liddell. His 36 second knockout win over Keith Jardine shows that he still has something in the tank. However, going back to Pride FC Silva is 1-4 in his last five fights. Is the end near for Silva?
Silva is fighting former UFC Middleweight champion Rich Franklin on Saturday. This is a fight that Silva should win. UFC is promoting this as two guys who love to throw down, but Franklin is not that kind of fighter. Franklin has 13 knockout wins as opposed to Silva’s 22 knockout wins. If these guys go toe to toe, Franklin doesn’t have it in him to finish while Silva does.
Personally, I think Rich Franklin is one of the most overrated fighters in the UFC. His run of dominance in the division came at a time when he had no real competition. Franklin has been dominated twice by current champ Anderson Silva. Franklin has never come up big against top fighters in UFC. His record speaks for itself.
This is a rare UFC catch-weight bout. Both guys agreed to fight at 195 pounds. Wanderlei plans to move to the Middleweight division at 185 following the fight. Dana White is already talking about an Anderson Silva-Wanderlei Silva match in the near future. Anderson hates Wanderlei going back to their training days. It will probably be over fast, but wow will that be a fun fight to watch.
As of this writing, Rich Franklin is the favorite on Sportsbet.com. Wanderlei Silva is a +115 favorite. I would easily place my money on Wanderlei for this fight. Again, until Rich Franklin beats a quality opponent I will bet on his opponent.
Place your bets online at Sportbet.com
See Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell on the UFC Best of 2007 DVD by ,clicking here.
See Wanderlei Silva vs. Rampage Jackson at Pride FC 28 on the Pride High Octane DVD by clicking here .