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UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin 2 — Main Event Preview & Analysis


(“Axe Murdering” — a Wanderlei Silva highlight film by Potato Nation hall-of-famer Perdew.)

By George Shunick

If it wasn’t for the utter disintegration of UFC 149, UFC 147 might be the most disappointing card of the year. Originally supposed to feature the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in Brazil, then Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, we are now stuck with Rich Franklin squaring off against the latter Silva. Of course, it’s cards like this that always end up surprising all the naysayers with copious amounts of glorious violence, so maybe there’s hope after all! OK, so while you’re not going to go out of your way to buy this card any time soon, at least the main event still might be worth pirating online. (Sorry Dana, you’re the one who’s trying to charge $50 for this.)

Now I may be in the minority on this one, but I’m actually more excited for Franklin-Silva than I was for Belfort-Silva. Why? Because it’s not a glorified squash match. Look, I’m a big fan of Wanderlei. I can’t think of something more enjoyable than watching that bloodthirsty sociopath do more damage and evoke more terror in Japan in eight years than Godzilla did in over half a century. But between his once-granite chin being reduced to rubble, his age compromising his speed and cardio — all while retaining the punching technique of a wind turbine — Silva is no longer the force he once was. Against a heavy-handed striker, he’s in trouble. Against a striker of Belfort’s caliber, he’s toast.

Fortunately for Silva, Rich Franklin isn’t quite as dangerous. Despite a permanent role on UFC highlight reels with his knockouts of Nate Quarry and Chuck Liddell, Franklin can no longer be considered one of the top strikers in the middleweight division. Like Silva, he’s alternated wins and losses since their last meeting. Both have suffered a brutal knockout loss since then as well; Franklin to Belfort and Silva to Chris Leben. In fact, Franklin and Silva match up fairly well with each other; both have solid stand-up and sound – if unspectacular – ground games. Much like their previous meeting, this has the potential be a close, dramatic fight.

At UFC 99, Franklin won in large part because he controlled the action. Silva has never been light of foot, and Franklin was able to dictate the distance their exchanges took place in. Franklin was able to slip in and out, landing jabs and crosses and evading Silva’s looping counter-punches. Not only did this allow Franklin to score points, it also helped fatigue Silva. Until the final minute of the second round, Silva’s sole offensive output on the feet had consisted of kicks, largely because he was unable to close the distance that Franklin has established.

When Silva was able to tag Franklin, it was when he moved forward. Silva finally landed two clean counter-hooks on Franklin with roughly 1:10 remaining the second round, and sensing blood, he charged. He landed a few solid right hands, but because he insisted on only throwing hooks, Franklin was able to avoid many of them and stay in the fight and on his feet. In the final round, Wanderlei was able to grab a Thai clinch – a position that both fighters are very familiar with, albeit for completely disparate reasons – but was too exhausted to maintain it. Wanderlei, much like in the previous round, found some success moving forward at the end, but it was too little too late. Franklin’s takedown in the final minute sealed the win for him.

In all likelihood, this upcoming fight is going to have many similarities to their past one, but with some key differences. Most notably, their last fight (held at a 195-pound catchweight) marked Silva’s first attempt at cutting below 205, and he reportedly had to lose 12 pounds the day before. It clearly affected his conditioning in that bout, and should not prove to be a problem this time around. But it wasn’t the only reason Silva grew tired; Franklin’s strategy of keeping Silva on the outside, swinging and missing with his powerful punches and throwing kicks, was also responsible for wearing Silva down. I doubt Franklin will change his strategy for this fight, and if he executes it, he’s going to win again.

Wanderlei needs to press forward, throw bombs, and hope to either connect with one or secure a Muay Thai plum-clinch. Either way, victory for him comes down to whether or not he will be able to close the distance. The problem for Silva is that this path is fraught with peril; Franklin may not have hands of stone, but he’s shown he has more than enough power to take out a fading star who’s chin isn’t what it once was. (Just ask Liddell.) When Silva wades in with those looping hooks, he invariably gets beaten to the punch. That didn’t matter when he was younger, but it does now.

For this reason, I’m giving the slight edge to Franklin. He doesn’t need to risk as much to put himself in a position to win the fight as Wanderlei does. Silva definitely has the capability to knock Franklin out, but I don’t see him taking a decision over five rounds and I certainly don’t see him submitting Franklin. Franklin has proven he can stay on the outside and pick his shots; he risks getting tagged, but as long as Silva refuses to punch straight, it’s not as big a risk as it should be. He can win a decision, or possibly knock Silva out if he wades in with his hands low. I suspect Silva will have his moments, but will tire trying to catch Franklin over the course of five rounds as “Ace” wins a clear cut decision in a headlining fight that has virtually no implications for the middleweight title picture and lacks a remotely compelling narrative or rivalry.

Actually, I take it back; you shouldn’t even pirate this. (You’re welcome, Dana.)

Cagepotato Comments

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mamthabenrt- June 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm
Watch UFC 147 Silva vs Franklin 2 Live Free Stream HERE
http://mma2012club.blogspot.com/
2Dogs- June 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm
I am sick of people sayin 40 is too old, Im 40, still training and knockin dudes out younger then me.
Its disrepectful to two absolutely GREAT fighters...gladiators....that have helped make this sport as popular as it is to offer refunds.
I would pay to see this fight any day...I bet franklin jumped at the chance andWanderlei smiled...these guys are gonna hammer it out...betterthan half the youngins' out there.
mark my words... both these dudes gonna pull out all tricks, it'll be good.
fuck you Dana
JPfighter-DAMMA- June 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm
Those pink gloves look good on Lloyd Christmas.
jjrdias- June 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm
Promoting piracy in an article goes a long way in helping Free Cage Potato, for sure. Nice going.
amsterdamheavy- June 21, 2012 at 9:58 am
That Hair makes him look like Lloyd Christmas, not Ace Ventura. He should change his nickname.
mDino- June 21, 2012 at 8:57 am
rich franklins fighting in brazil so he gets erick silvas haircut?? C'mon ace.
Fletch the V Stretch- June 21, 2012 at 8:26 am
It blows my fucking mind they are trying to pretend a win over Mike Russow is going to put Werdum in a title fight with JDS. A win over Mike Russow puts you no where and a loss gets you cut immediately. GTFO UFC.
Fletch the V Stretch- June 21, 2012 at 9:03 am
I am also gonna say if Russow beats Werdum then all that title shot talk should jump straight to him from Werdum.
Ricardo Guitardo- June 21, 2012 at 8:20 am
Rich Franklin looks like a retard with that new haircut. Just sayin is all....
Dog Dicks Magoo- June 21, 2012 at 8:16 am
LACES OUT!!!!!!!
Fried Taco- June 21, 2012 at 7:38 am
I see Silva winning by gogoplata.
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