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UFC 147 preview: Rich Franklin locks horns with Wanderlei Silva for second time

Rich Franklin (right) tags Wanderlei Silva in their first matchup at UFC 99 in Germany

The UFC 147 main event that’s set to take place in Brazil on Saturday night will feature a 190 pound catch weight bout between former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin and former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva. This will be a rematch of their first battle which took place at UFC 99 with Franklin winning a close decision. Franklin is a last minute replacement for an injured Vitor Belfort who had to pull out of the bout with a broken hand. Let’s see how this rematch will unfold.

Rich Franklin (28-6, 1NC) comes into this bout after a lengthy stretch away(almost 18 months) from the game due to injuries and shoulder surgery. Franklin was last in action at UFC 126, losing a unanimous decision against Forrest Griffin as a light heavyweight. He is (1-2) since defeating Wanderlei Silva in their first matchup at UFC 99, losing to Vitor Belfort, Griffin, and knocking out UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell. He has  Franklin is a solid fighter that’s well rounded and comfortable wherever the fight goes. His biggest problem in this fight will be the effects of the long layoff.

Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1, 1NC) comes into this bout off his TKO win over Cung Le at UFC 139. Silva is known for his aggressive style and has 24 wins via TKO/KO and three wins via submission. Silva is (2-1) since the loss to Franklin in their first matchup, with the lone loss being via KO against the hard hitting Chris Leben.

Franklin is the favorite at (-170) and Silva as the underdog at (+140).

Those are solid odds considering how the first fight went and the long layoff for Franklin could be a factor. I expect this fight to be much like the first one with Franklin looking to pick the wild swinging Silva apart with body kicks and the straight left. Silva will probably try to start more conservative and then open up as the fight goes along when his emotions begin to run high. He’s always a threat to put his opponents away and he did have Franklin hurt a couple of times in their initial matchup.

Franklin is usually in tip top shape, but it would be smart to watch for his conditioning coming off the long layoff. This is a five round affair, not to mention he’s no spring chicken anymore at 37 years old. However, he will have a reach advantage and a size advantage over Silva.

I’m leaning towards Franklin in this one. I think his experience will help him get over the long layoff without much harm done. As long as he can avoid getting hit with a huge bomb from Silva, he should be able to win a decision or possibly knock Silva out with a punch. Silva’s chin has been found many times and it is nowhere near as sturdy as it used to be. Plus, Silva has a tendency to get tired fairly quickly as well. It should be a good one for a card that’s less than spectacular on paper.

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