Silva vs. Franklin: Wrestling Is Key to Victory for Powerful Stand-Up Fighters

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2012

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Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin have combined for 39 knockouts in 82 total fights, but their power isn't going to determine the winner of UFC 147's headline bout.

These violent stand-up fighters must use their technical wrestling and takedown skills to win this contest.

Franklin has 10 victories by way of submission in his career. Silva only has three, while wrestling has never been his strongest suit.

We know each fighter has one-shot knockout power—they're both elite, albeit different, striking players. 

That leaves the ground game as this fight's determining factor.

Let's take a look at each fighter's wrestling abilities and how they'll shape this battle.


Wanderlei Silva

Silva is a brawler. He relies on his kickboxing skills and Muay Thai talents to devastate opponents on their feet.

However, his game changes when you get him onto his back.

His takedown defense is flawed because he lacks defensive instincts. He's usually so focused on his own knockout that he forgets to cover himself up.

This could be exploited by Franklin on Saturday night. He will look to shoot Silva's legs and neutralize the Brazilian's heavy fists and lethal kicks.

If the majority of this fight is fought standing up, I have to give the edge to Silva. He's had some of the most brutal knockouts that mixed martial arts has ever seen.

His chances of winning this rematch come down to wrestling. If he can fight well, out of his element, he will emerge with a victory.


Rich Franklin

Franklin is technically savvy in all areas of fighting. He'd prefer to stay on his feet, but he is no slouch on the ground.

His submission tactics have been highlighted throughout his 20-plus year mixed martial arts career. He has 10 career victories by submission.

I have to give him a big advantage in this department. In the first fight, both fighters struggled to strike with any real consistency. Expect them to compensate for that with a heavier reliance on their grappling skills.

If the match comes down to that, Franklin's quickness and agility will pay off. He will pick his spots. Yes, he must be mindful of Silva's one-punch capabilities, but Franklin has a vast understanding of how to fight.

The ability to adapt and fight multiple styles will help Franklin at UFC 147. Neither of these fighters are in their prime, and this fight isn't for a championship belt, but that doesn't mean it isn't must-see TV.

Watching their styles push and pull against the other will be interesting.

In the end, I think Franklin's understanding of his limitations, and his willingness to fight against his preferred style, will earn him the victory.