The return of the Iceman lasted just one round. Rich Franklin defeated Chuck Liddell at UFC 115. Franklin put Liddell down with one punch in the first round. The win puts the Ace back in the elite mix in two UFC divisions. Sadly, the knockout once again puts Chuck Liddell’s UFC future in serious doubt.
This was a hell of a fight for one round. Chuck Liddell came out mixing it up with punches, kicks, and takedowns. Rich Franklin had some great counters and wound up trading with Chuck more than I thought he would. Liddell caught Franklin with some nasty kicks including one that broke Franklin’s arm. The finish came at 4:55 of Round 1 as Liddell caught Franklin and swarmed in for the kill. Liddell tried finishing with a swinging left and Franklin countered with a beautiful right hand that nailed Liddell right on the chin. Liddell went down immediately, which didn’t stop Franklin from adding a few extra punches for insurance.
This was one of the most exciting rounds of UFC action all year. It was back and forth throughout the round. As stated, Franklin broke his arm in the round. So in essence, he knocked out Chuck with one arm (although he was still swinging with his broken left arm). It was a gutsy performance by both men, especially Franklin. I have no idea how he would have fought another two rounds, but he told Joe Rogan after the fight that he had no intentions of quitting with the broken arm.
I give Rich Franklin a ton of credit. Rich Franklin wasn’t looking to come back so soon after surgery. Franklin stepped up when the UFC called him and I have to give him credit for that. Franklin will have name value, but I think UFC 115 is the last we ever see of Rich Franklin in a pay-per-view main-event. For Franklin to come back early, train hard for a fight that he wasn’t itching to take, and win is quite an accomplishment.
The win is great for Rich Franklin but I don’t know where you go from here with him. While he keeps hanging around hoping to slide into a third match with Anderson Silva, I think that is the last thing that anyone wants to see. Franklin’s biggest wins of the decade have been against aging fighters Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell. I don’t think Franklin would stand a chance with the elite of the UFC light heavyweight division. Maybe a match with Randy Couture perhaps is next for the Ace?
I think the biggest problem with Rich Franklin is that he is better than the mid-card UFC fighters but he isn’t in the class of the elite UFC fighters. Honestly his best bet is to wait out Anderson Silva’s self-imposed retirement in a couple of years. I think Franklin would have a shot against Nate Marquardt and Chael Sonnen but nothing is guaranteed. Unfortunately the UFC light heavyweight division is just too stacked for the Ace to do any serious damage.
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