Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva: UFC 147 Head-to-Toe Breakdown
The trend is disturbing.
With another season of The Ultimate Fighter down, fans are left with another coaches battle that failed to come to fruition.
Vitor Belfort, who coached opposite Wanderlei Silva on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, suffered a broken hand while preparing for the bout and was forced to withdraw.
But have no fear!
Rich "Ace" Franklin has reportedly stepped in to save the day, exhibiting the consummate professionalism he has become known for over the course of his UFC career.
While a rematch between Franklin and Silva may not be the epic clash fans were anticipating to headline the UFC 147 card, it is still an interesting bout. This will pit two veterans in a fight to cement their respective legacies.
With neither fighter left with anything to prove at this stage in his career, Franklin vs. Silva II will almost certainly be a high-intensity bout that leaves the audience on its feet.
Following is a head-to-toe breakdown detailing each aspect of this legendary matchup.
Let's just be honest here: This is going to be a striking battle.
Both Franklin and Silva love to stand and bang, and that is almost certainly what we're in for on June 23rd.
So who has the edge?
In my eyes, the technical striking edge clearly goes to Franklin.
"Ace" throws more kicks, and he varies his attack much more than does "The Axe Murderer." This affords him the opportunity to stay on the outside and pick apart his opponents in a technical, calculated fashion (something we've never seen Silva do in the UFC).
Adding to this, Franklin's striking defense is superior, and this further aids him in his "pick and pop" style of striking.
On the other hand, Wanderlei has the power advantage in his strikes. While his chin may be disintegrating at this stage in his career, nobody doubts the fact that if Wandy catches you flush, you're going down.
That said, Franklin owns some highlight-reel knockouts of his own, with vicious one-punch victories over Nate Quarry and Chuck Liddell to his credit.
All things considered, I think Franklin has superior striking defense, more technical striking and plenty of power to put away Silva in one shot.
Because of this, I have to give the edge to "Ace" in the striking department.
Franklin and Silva wrestle so infrequently that I could not even find a picture of them giving the art a go.
For that, I present to you the greatest wrestling photo ever shot: Strikeforce heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier positioned innocently behind a downed foe.
Isn't that just divine?
Hilariously timed pictures aside, I really don't see wrestling being a factor in this matchup.
Both guys are well-rounded mixed martial artists who possess solid takedowns and takedown defense, but I don't think we're going to see any of it at UFC 147.
I'm going out on a limb here.
Rich Franklin has a better ground game than Wanderlei Silva.
Of his 28 career wins, Franklin has 10 submission victories, five of which were due to armbar or kimura.
Silva, on the other hand, has a whopping three submission victories in his 34 career wins, and two of those were from punches.
I know Silva, being Brazilian and all, would figure to have the advantage here, but history shows that when the fight hits the mat, Franklin is the more dangerous man.
Of course, the only way either fighter is going to the mat is if he gets caught, so, again, I don't see submissions being a huge part the game plan.
Despite this, I feel that Franklin is more likely to look for a submission on the ground, whereas Silva will likely look to ground and pound if he is on top and sweep or stand up if he is on the bottom, so the submissions edge goes to "Ace."
Both in their mid-30's, I don't think we're going to see spectacular feats of athleticism in the main event at UFC 147.
There will be no Jon Jones spinning back elbows, no Jose Aldo flying knees and no GSP-like jaw-dropping takedowns.
Still, both Franklin and Silva are always in shape and ready to go on fight night, and I don't see either man having a problem with his conditioning in the bout.
Franklin is taking the fight on short notice, but he was already booked to face Cung Le at UFC 148 and had likely begun getting his cardio up to snuff in preparation for that showdown.
Where strength is concerned, both fighters have competed in the light heavyweight division and are very big, strong middleweights.
Franklin carries a slightly larger frame at middleweight, though, and he is rarely out-muscled in his fights (unless you get him in the Muay Thai clinch, right Anderson?). Since this fight is scheduled for a 190 lb. catchweight, I think you will see Franklin looking slightly bigger than Silva, as he would at middleweight.
This alone, though, doesn't give him the edge where athleticism is concerned, and I think you have to call this one a push.
While Rich Franklin has the technical advantage in most areas of this fight, the immeasurable aspects of the bout fall in favor of "The Axe Murderer."
Firstly, the bout takes place in Wandy's home country of Brazil, and he will be looking to impress the crowd in emphatic fashion. While some fighters say that fighting at home causes more harm than good, I think Silva's experience and professionalism will allow him to relax and allow the energy to feed, rather than control, him.
Another factor in Silva's favor is the fact that Franklin is a late replacement. This is undoubtedly difficult for both fighters, but you have to think a rematch with Franklin sits better than a rematch with the man who absolutely demolished him, Belfort.
In the aspects that neither fighter can control, I see the stars aligning for Silva.
I will admit that I was disappointed by the news that Belfort was out at UFC 147, but I truly think that Rich Franklin can save the show.
The stage is set for Wanderlei to shine, and Franklin is always a gamer on fight night.
This willingness to engage is going to play directly in Wanderlei's favor, and I think we're in for a vintage performance by "The Axe Murderer."
My brain is telling me that Franklin should win the fight, that he is more talented and technical, but my heart is telling me the opposite.
In an attempt to make Bryan Adams proud, I'm "listening to my heart."
With the home-court advantage, I expect Wandy to come out blazing in a chance to exact revenge for his UFC 99 loss.
And he'll get it.
After no "feeling out" process, I see Wanderlei clipping Franklin and proceeding to pound away until the referee saves "Ace" from further damage.
Prediction: Silva via TKO (Round 1)