UFC 147 Results: 3 Big Fights to Make After Franklin vs. Silva 2
UFC 147 is in the books. In the coming days, much will be made about the lack of star power contained on the UFC's third offering from Brazil in less than a year—and rightly so. But the Belo Horizonte card was filled with Brazilian prospects for one reason and one reason only: to continue building up a roster of brand-name fighters for the local Brazilian market.
Yes, it's unfortunate that the United States had to pay $50 to see it. But in the end, it was quite nearly worth that $50 just for the main-event rewind between Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin, who turned in yet another great performance in a very long series of exciting fights.
With the UFC's latest excursion to Brazil behind us, let's take a look at five potential bouts the UFC should consider coming out of Belo Horizonte.
Rich Franklin vs. Michael Bisping
BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: (L-R) Rich Franklin punches Wanderlei Silva during their UFC 147 catchweight bout at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drummond on June 23, 2012, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Rich Franklin has been quite the company man over the past few years, and now, he's ready for the UFC to return the favor by starting him down the road to another middleweight title shot:
"That was my intention when I moved backs down to 185 (pounds)," Franklin told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) at Saturday night's post-event press conference. "I'm glad that you and probably everybody else notices that I've bailed the UFC out a lot. I hope that's going to pay off in the future at some point in time."
Hey, why not? Franklin has done all of the right things and saved the UFC's bacon by being a late replacement on several occasions. Why not repay him for that goodwill by giving him a fight with a top contender like Michael Bisping?
The timing makes sense. Bisping is looking to return to the cage early in the fall, and that'll give Franklin plenty of time to rest, relax and ready himself for another run at the top.
And so what if Franklin does earn a title shot? And who cares if it's against Anderson Silva? It's been years since they stepped in the cage together, and Franklin's technique looked better against Wanderlei Silva than it has at any point in his career.
Who's to say that the third time wouldn't be the charm for "Ace?"
Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: (L-R) Wanderlei Silva punches Rich Franklin during their UFC 147 catchweight bout at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drummond on June 23, 2012, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
The UFC doesn't like to match up a fighter coming off a loss against a fighter coming off a win. It's something they avoid whenever possible. But this is one case where an exception should be made.
Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort have some serious bad blood and personal history between them. Belfort's injury meant they couldn't settle their beef over the course of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, so let's give them another chance to figure things out from a fisticuff standpoint.
The UFC is already planning a return to Brazil in October; that sounds like the perfect time for The Phenom and The Axe Murderer to settle their business.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Daniel Cormier
BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: Fabricio Werdum reacts after defeating Mike Russow during their UFC 147 heavyweight bout at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drummond on June 23, 2012, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
This one just makes sense.
Werdum's win was his fourth in five fights, and all have come against tough and gritty competition: Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva, Roy Nelson and Mike Russow.
Sure, Russow's name doesn't quite fit on that list in terms of marketability, but keen observers of the UFC product realize he's a gritty warrior that's very tough to put away. And yet, there was Werdum in Brazil at UFC 147, putting him away with ease.
Werdum deserves a big fight. Unfortunately for him, the UFC heavyweight title picture is clouded at best, likely for the next 12 months. Dos Santos and Velasquez will rematch this fall, and then, Dos Santos likely defends against the returning Alistair Overeem in early 2013. By the time, Werdum gets near a rematch with Dos Santos, it'll be next summer.
In the meantime, send Werdum to Strikeforce and have him fight Daniel Cormier. The world heavyweight grand prix winner also deserves a big fight to close out his Strikeforce run. This is the perfect pairing.