The first time these two got together at UFC 99, it wasn’t the war we all wanted to see, but it was a very good back-and-forth competitive match.
Rich Franklin stuck to his gameplan of keeping the fight on the outside, keeping distance with jabs and body kicks. The whole night Wanderlei searched for his range but once he found it, Franklin was rocked.
So three years and a unanimous decision later how does the rematch matchup with the original?
It’s going to be better.
The first fight was in Cologne, Germany and was the main event of the first UFC card in Germany. The Germans proved to be a great crowd and were vocal throughout. But they’re not Brazil.
Even during the weigh-in Franklin got booed like never before, while Silva received a hero’s welcome. That’s but a taste of what it’s going to sound like once both men enter the Octagon. Expect the decibel level to hit new highs every time Silva connects with his right hook or rushes in with one of his patented flurries. Look for Silva to perform well with the raucous crowd cheering his every move.
Home cage advantage will give him the extra boost of adrenaline that he’ll need fighting in front of his fellow Brazilians for the first time in 12 years.
As for Franklin, he’s playing with house money. Coming in as a late injury replacement will put you in a good spot no matter if you win or lose. So he’ll be fighting like a man with nothing to lose once he steps inside the Octagon to try and slay the Axe Murderer.
Another interesting twist to this match is that it’s going to be five rounds. In the last fight both men were gassed in the middle of the third round so nobody should expect this one to go the distance.
The UFC is touting the fact that between the two, there are 39 knockout victories. Look for that number to jump to 40. Somebody is getting knocked out tonight. That alone will catapult the rematch over the original.