UFC 147′s replacement main event may seem like a re-tread of an old classic, but it’s the little differences, y’know? First off, Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva will be fighting a five-rounder this time, which could affect their pace and game-plans, and allows each man more time to secure a finish.
Second, unlike their first meeting at 195 pounds, this one will happen slightly lower down the catchweight scale at 190. While that won’t matter much to Silva, who’s been competing at middleweight for the last two years, it’ll be the first time Franklin has had to fight below 195 pounds since he beat up Travis Lutter in 2008.
And of course, Silva vs. Franklin 2 will go down in Silva’s home country of Brazil, whereas their first fight at UFC 99 took place in the neutral territory of Cologne, Germany. Add up enough minor differences, and the tenor of the fight could change drastically. Franklin is a slightly heavier favorite over Wandy going into this fight (-155) as he was going into their last one (-140). Should he be?
As for the other fight on this card that you halfway-care about…
Fabricio Werdum is taking on Mike Russow in a heavyweight feature, and I have to wonder: Is this the moment when the Mike Russow Cinderella story finally comes to an abrupt, violent end? The Chicago cop is now 4-0 in the Octagon, and while a couple of those victories have been impressive — the miracle against Todd Duffee, the satisfying destruction of Jon Madsen — he’s never beaten anybody as seasoned and successful as Werdum. Yes, Russow’s tough, we get it, but will toughness be enough against a jiu-jitsu phenom whose striking is also starting to look deadly? Is this secretly a squash match set up for the entertainment of the Brazilian fans? Russow has never given us a reason to count him out before, but damn, I really don’t like his chances here.