With UFC 147 scheduled for Saturday, June 23, the excitement over the ever-changing card has gone down since the removal of Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva’s dream rematch and the injury to Vitor Belfort.
While Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva isn’t the best main event the fans could’ve wanted, the Brazilian crowd will be intense and ready to explode over this duo's second meeting. Let's not forget Franklin beat Silva at UFC 99 via unanimous decision.
The majority of the card is of Brazilian descent and it will get wild on Saturday; that much I can guarantee.
Where: Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
When: Saturday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET
Watch: Facebook under-card fights at 7 p.m. EST, preliminary fights at 8 p.m. EST on FX, Main Card fights at 10 p.m. EST on pay-per-view; online pay-per-view streaming (must pay $44.99) at UFC.tv, Yahoo! Sports, UStream, Android or iPhone
Full Fight Card
Main Card (PPV)
Catchweight (190 lb): Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin
Middleweight: Cezar Ferreira vs. Sergio Moraes
Featherweight: Godofredo Pepey vs. Rony Mariano Bezerra
Heavyweight: Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow
Featherweight: Yuri Alcantara vs. Hacran Dias
Preliminary Card (FX)
Featherweight: Anistavio Medeiros vs. Rodrigo Damm
Middleweight: Delson Heleno vs. Francisco Drinaldo
Featherweight: John Teixeira vs. Hugo Viana
Middleweight: Thiago Perpétuo vs. Leonardo Mafra
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
Featherweight: Vinicius Borges Pancini vs. Wagner Campos
Featherweight: Felipe Arantes vs. Milton Vieira
Wanderlei Silva’s Keys to Victory
Wanderlei Silva’s techniques have changed over the years, and fans will see that on full display this Saturday.
While there was once a time when the Brazilian star would charge straight forward with a flurry of punches and kicks, Silva’s chin isn’t what it used to be.
If the former PRIDE star can methodically pick apart Franklin and not fall back into his old tendencies if he gets rocked, there is no doubt he can win the fight.
Rich Franklin’s Keys to Victory
For as great as Rich Franklin’s career has been, there is no doubt that this is the twilight. After losing three of his last five fights, fans may be looking at the end of the former middleweight champion.
Or we could be looking at a rebirth…
After not fighting since February 5, 2011, Franklin is fully healthy for the first time in a while and ready to go. While he will be on hostile territory in Brazil, the lack of distractions could be good for the striking specialist.
What They’re Saying
Wanderlei Silva took to Twitter to thank the fans for their support and told them that they will win together (loosely translated thanks to Translation Cloud):
Tudo Bem ai minha galera,obrigado pela otima recepcao aqui em BH,vamos ganhar essa juntos— Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) June 19, 2012
“Okay guys, thanks for the ai my great reception here in BH [Belo Horizonte], let's win this together”
While Brazil is already getting excited for this event, popular radio show Ring Rust Radio echoes the sentiment of many UFC fans that feel this isn’t a marquee enough matchup for a Brazilian show:
When we saw #UFC 147's main event was Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin, our first thought was we had fallen asleep and woken up in 2009.— RingRustRadio (@RingRustRadio) June 20, 2012
Undercard Fight To Watch
Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow
For those casual fans that are looking for a card under the main event to fall in love with, look no further than the elite battle between heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Mike Russow.
Werdum comes into this fight after a big win over Roy Nelson, but his long track record shows he can struggle against opponents that take him down. Russow can do that.
Russow is one of the best takedown artists in UFC today and will destroy Werdum if this goes to the ground. No matter what, this fight will not go the distance and will be a great appetizer for the main event.
Main Event Prediction
Rich Franklin via TKO
While the experience factor won’t play as big of a role in this fight as many others due to the sheer number of fights both veterans have been a part of, this will come down to who is more ready for this brawl.
As good as Wanderlei has been over his career, Franklin is coming off a long break and will have energy to spare. With Silva losing six of his last nine fights, Franklin’s strikes will find their mark and send his opponent to the ground.