Vitor Belfort’s replacement has finally been announced as he had to pull out of the UFC 147 main event fight against Wanderlei Silva. Rich Franklin (28-6) will step in to face Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) at UFC 147 in June in a catchweight bout of 190 pounds. This will be the second time that these two men meet in the octagon with Silva will now getting a chance to avenge his previous loss to Franklin at UFC 99.
UFC officials announced the new matchup today ending all speculation about who would step in to replace the injured Belfort. Earlier this week Vitor had to undergo surgery on his hand which was the cause of his withdrawal from the event. Silva and Belfort are both currently coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil”. The bout between theses two men was going to mark the end of the season which is the first international version of the series done by the UFC.
UFC 147 will take place on June 23rd at the Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva II will be the main event on the night with the main card airing on PPV. The FX channel is expected to carry the prelims.
Rich Franklin has gone (1-2) since his last fight with Silva. He faced Vitor Belfort at UFC 103 losing via TKO in the first round and followed that up with a TKO win over Chuck Liddell, earning “Knockout of the Night” honors for a memorable first round TKO. Franklin actually suffered a broken arm during the bout with Liddell retiring from MMA following the bout. Franklin’s most recent bout was at UFC 126 where he went the distance with Forrest Griffin losing a unanimous decision. Rich will now hope to repeat the same success he experienced the last time these two men faced off in the cage in what was an exciting but close fight.
The Axe Murderer enters this fight coming off a big victory over Cung Le at UFC 139. He won the fight via TKO in the second round of a spectacular bout that earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Prior to that fight Silva had gone (2-4) since returning to the UFC in 2007 with losses to Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Rich Franklin and Chris Leben. The 35-year-old fan favorite will now look to build off his last win and impress the UFC 147 crowd on his home soil in Brazil.