The former middleweight “Ace” was slated to face Cung Le at UFC 148 on July 7. Instead, he obliged the promotion’s request and moved up his calendar by two weeks, walking into hostile territory and taking a unanimous decision against Wanderlei Silva in a190-pound catch-weight contest at Felipe Drumond Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The win marked Franklin’s first in-cage appearance in 18 months and his first win in two years. The Ohio native had been sidelined since injuring his shoulder last summer while preparing for a meeting with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 133.
“There was a lot riding on this fight for me. I was coming off of shoulder surgery and a long layoff,” Franklin told Fox Sports. “I had my August fight [against Nogueira] canceled, and I was coming down to Wanderlei’s backyard. Plus, I accepted a fight that was two weeks ahead of the time frame against a completely different opponent.”
After controlling the majority of the first round, Franklin felt Silva’s punching power late in the second frame, eating a straight right hand that put him flat on his back. Though the ex-Pride champion did his best to finish, Franklin managed to protect himself long enough to hear the horn at the end of the frame.
“I don’t know [if I was out of it]. Honestly, I can’t remember. I’ll have to look at the tape,” said Franklin. “I know I got dropped. It’s not uncommon for me. It’s happened in many fights. It’s just something I’m used to working through, I guess.”
Franklin regained his legs in the third round, while Silva appeared exhausted from his attempt to end the bout. The American continually rifled out his jab, often doubling up as Silva searched for another opportunity to counter. The final two frames produced essentially the same, though Silva managed to gather the last of his strength for a rally with one minute remaining before being floored by Franklin’s last punch of the fight.
“We worked a lot this fight, just because I had so much downtime. My last fight was against Forrest [Griffin] last year in February,” said Franklin. “My [coaches] and I worked a lot on staying calm, just because I had been out of the Octagon for so long that I didn’t want to [expend all my energy] in the first round.”
Franklin now owns a pair of victories over the “Axe Murderer,” having previously outpointed Silva at UFC 99 three years ago. After sharing 40 total minutes of combat with the former Chute Boxe fighter, Franklin says that Silva owns his respect both in and outside the cage.
“Thank God I won this fight, but guys like Wanderlei, they are so respectful and such honorable opponents. Those are the kind of guys where, if you had to pick someone to lose to, they’re the ones you wouldn’t mind losing to,” said Franklin. “I know what it feels like to fight in my backyard and lose a big fight. Anderson [Silva] did the same thing to me [at UFC 77] in Cincinnati when I rematched him for the title.”
His “Fight of the Night”-winning performance now behind him, Franklin says that he hopes to finish his career at middleweight, ideally with a belt around his waist.
“The UFC didn’t want to do a third fight between Anderson and me, and that was understandable. I lost both of those fights pretty convincingly, but enough time has passed now,” said Franklin. “I’m not going to be able to make a title run at 205 [pounds]. I’m just not big enough. So, I talked to the UFC about dropping back down to 185. If I can put some wins together, then maybe we’ll shoot for a title before I retire. I’m 37, and I’m getting up there in years.”view original article >>
Robert Whittaker is hoping to unify the UFC middleweight title when the promotion makes its first stop in Western Australia. read news >>
UFC champ Michael Bisping responded to Georges St-Pierre’s retirement threats with a similar type of promise.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos read news >>
Matt Brown is only a couple months removed from saying UFC Fight Night 120 against Diego Sanchez would be his final walk to the cage.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos read news >>
Check out 80 facts, figures and footnotes about UFC Fight Night 120, which features Anthony Pettis vs. Dustin Poirier in the main event.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos read news >>
UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber may be on the comeback trail. On Tuesday, TMZ Sports noted Faber would "consider coming out of retirement to fight TJ Dillashaw." However, Faber clarified he isn't look read news >>
With five consecutive losses, Andrei Arlovski knew the importance of his bout with Junior Albini.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
The UFC’s new women’s flyweight division will be on display when the company debuts in St. Louis in January.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
Jake Matthews was hoping to be rejuvenated in his return to welterweight. But Bojan Velickovic made it a struggle throughout.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
Was Matt Brown’s highlight-reel knockout of Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 120 his final appearance in the octagon?Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
Andrei Arlovski staved off retirement with a unanimous nod over Junior Albini at UFC Fight Night 120 on Saturday in Norfolk, Va. read news >>