CANADA – A light heavyweight match-up between former UFC champions Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (21-7) and Rich “Ace” Franklin (27-5-0, 1 NC) is likely to take place at UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on June 12 according to a report posted Saturday at Sherdog.com.
However, UFC President Dana White has since issued a statement on Twitter that Randy Couture will be fighting Rich Franklin and not Chuck Liddell.
Following White’s denial of Liddell vs. Franklin, Sherdog has updated their original report, written by Loretta Hunt. It now reads, “Sherdog.com re-affirmed with its sources that the Liddell-Franklin bout is still in play.”
Are Sherdog’s sources better than the UFC President’s?
MMAJunkie seems to be saying the same thing as Sherdog, that the Franklin vs. Liddell bout is still likely to take place. They have also indicated that Ortiz was not able to complete his role as coach on TUF 11, and Franklin was likely brought in as a replacement.
Liddell, 40, recently finished taping season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, which begins airing on Spike TV on Wednesday, March 31. Liddell is a coach opposite Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz on the longtime running reality television show.
The two rivals were originally supposed to fight on this card, at the culmination of TUF 11. However, just like the coaches’ fight for TUF 10 (Jackson vs. Evans), it apparently is not going to happen. The reason Ortiz and Liddell are not fighting is not yet known. Ortiz did give some indication via Twitter a couple of weeks ago that some things were amiss, but gave no details.
White also Tweeted today, “Nothing happened to Tito. Tito and I are cool,” which could lead one to believe he and Liddell may still fight.
Liddell is coming off back-to-back knockout losses, to Rashad “Sugar” Evans at UFC 88, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97. He has lost four of his last fight fights, and is 6-4 in his last 10. His last win was a unanimous decision over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in Dec. 2007.
Rich Franklin is also 6-4 in his last ten fights. He was last inside the Octagon at UFC 103 in Sept. 2009, where he suffered a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort in the first round. Also like Liddell, his last victory inside the Octagon was against Wanderlei Silva. He defeated Silva via unanimous decision at UFC 99 in June 2009.
Here are the bouts so far announced for UFC 115
- Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin
- Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald
- Patrick Barry vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
- Tyson Griffin vs. Evan Dunham
- Ben Rothwell vs. Gilbert Yvel
- Paulo Thiago vs. Martin Kampmann
- Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wimans
- James Wilks vs. Peter Sobotta
- Mike Pyle vs. Jesse Lennox
Item updated at 7:19pm ET with new information from Dana White’s Twitter and an update from Sherdog.com, as well as an update from MMAJunkie.com.