The injury bug has bit the UFC once again, forcing the promotion to scramble for a new main-event. In the case of UFC 147 the new main-event is actually an old main-event. Former MMA champions Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva will now square off on June 23 in Brazil.
[adinserter block=”2″]The fight announcement was a bit of a surprise. Silva’s original opponent Vitor Belfort officially pulled out of the main-event against Wanderlei last week after suffering a hand injury. Silva and Belfort are opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. The coach vs. coach homeland headliner was scrapped in favor of a rematch of the UFC 99 main-event.
Silva vs. Franklin was not on anyone’s radar when it came to predicting the new Brazilian main-event. Franklin was originally signed to fight Cung Le at UFC 148. Personally I was hoping to see Alan Belcher get the call but it was not to be. This is certainly a strange fight to rematch considering the first one ended with relatively little controversy. The reshuffled fight now leaves Le without an opponent underneath the biggest fight card of the year.
While I have little interest in seeing Silva vs. Franklin again I will say that I absolutely loved their first fight. Franklin won a unanimous decision in their first fight. Although I didn’t think the fight was as one-sided as some did, I had no problem with Franklin winning the decision. The fight was better than I expected, but it was the finish of the fight that had me on my feet.
After dominating the majority of three rounds, Franklin narrowly escaped a brutal assault by Silva in the final 30 seconds of the fight. Here is how I described it when I recapped the fight two years ago in my blog.
“The final 30 seconds of the Round 3 will make the highlight films. Silva stood up from a Franklin takedown. Franklin was still holding Silva from behind and leaning on the cage. Silva began to fire rocket elbows at Franklin’s face, reminding me of Gary Goodrich from the old UFC days. Franklin was trapped and saved by the bell. Another 30 seconds and Silva would have pulled off one of the most exciting knockouts in UFC history.”
Silva will get another shot at the knockout. I am a big Silva fan but I don’t expect the same fight as the first. Silva’s better days are behind him and I think he is getting knocked out in his home country at UFC 147. Franklin is coming off a decision loss to Forrest Griffin but I still think he is the better fight at this stage of the game. Wanderlei did show me something with his TKO win over Le but Franklin is a much more polished fighter than Le.
[adinserter block=”1″]The irony here is that this is Franklin’s second stint as a replacement in a The Ultimate Fighter coach vs. coach main-event. Franklin stepped in for Tito Ortiz back at UFC 115 and sent Chuck Liddell into retirement with a first round KO. Unfortunately for Silva fans, it looks like Franklin could be sending his second legend into retirement on June 23.