UFC 147 ultimately ended up being one of the more lackluster UFC cards we've seen in a while, despite a decent main event between Rich "Ace" Franklin and Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva. However, despite the card not living up to the standards that the UFC is accustomed to, there are still multiple points that can be taken away from Saturday night's show.
Here are three takeaways from UFC 147:
Rich Franklin Still Has a Lot to Give
The man they call Ace took this fight on short notice and was coming off a 16-month layoff. Two ingredients that would normally spell doom for a fighter who's perceived to be nearing the end of the line and will turn 38 later this year.
However, Rich Franklin impressed me on Saturday night. His footwork looked sharp, and his reflexes and hand speed looked excellent as well. Franklin didn't look like a man who was 37 on Saturday night in Brazil. He looked fresh and rejuvenated, so maybe that long layoff wasn't such a bad thing after all. He didn't really show signs of ring (Octagon?) rust, and his technique was as good as ever.
Ace is a guy that, no matter what his age, will always come into the fight in shape and prepared to rumble, that is for certain.
What I really liked about Franklin's performance on Saturday night was how he responded when Silva had him hurt in the second round. Franklin was badly stunned by Silva and looked like he was on the verge of being knocked out. However, he was able to keep moving and never stopped intelligently defending himself.
Can Rich Franklin become a UFC Champion again?
To be his age with those types of recuperative powers is simply amazing. Franklin showed a lot of heart and claimed in an interview with Joe Rogan afterwards that he didn't even recall what happened—that he remembered fighting the first round and he "woke up" at the start of the fifth, (per ESPN).
Franklin looks poised to make another title run. Although it's hard to imagine him becoming a UFC champion again, he'll still make for good fights and will be a tough guy to beat for whomever he squares up against inside the octagon.
Wanderlei Silva Is Still Exciting, but His Career Is All but Over
Wanderlei Silva has consistently given fans of the UFC memorable fights over the course of his entire career. He's one of the most exciting fighters in MMA history, and will always be a fan favorite. He's a wild slugger, and while he isn't the greatest fighter of all-time, he's been one of the most fun to watch out of anyone who's' ever stepped into the octagon.
However, it appears that Silva's career as an elite fighter has come to an end. Aside from the second round, in which he caught Franklin and almost had him out, Silva looked slow and was on the verge of being outclassed by Franklin. He just couldn't keep up any sort of pace. He was either out of shape, old, or both.
In fact, for large periods of the fight, Silva really didn't do much at all. Franklin just danced around him and peppered him with shots, most of which Silva had no answer for. He looked like a shell of the fighter he used to be.
He's had tons of hard fights throughout his stellar career, and like most fighters it appears that it's finally caught up to him. While Silva is a star and will almost assuredly continue to fight in the UFC, he'll never really be a significant force again. Those days are behind him.
Silva will still make for fun fights though, and he'll bring in a lot of fans and revenue in for Dana White. That's what will likely keep him going; if big paydays are still there it'll be very hard for Silva to walk away.
Whatever he decides to do, he'll always be revered by fans as one of the greatest action fighters in the history of MMA.
The UFC Is Truly an International Sport
The UFC appears to be looking more and more to expand their brand overseas into new markets. On Saturday night, that market was Brazil. Brazil has long been MMA-crazy, as it's the home of the famed Gracie family and the birthplace of the Brazilian style of jiu-jitsu.
Essentially, it's a huge business opportunity for the UFC, and if they can take advantage of it, they're going to have a lot of events and make piles of money putting on cards in Brazil for years to come.
On Saturday, at the Estadio Journalista Felpie Drumond, the largest indoor arena in Brazil, the crowd was packed with a Brazilian MMA-event record of nearly 17,000 fans. The ability for the UFC to draw that many fans to an event in a foreign country speaks volumes about the organization and the sport's popularity outside of the US.
It has to be expected that the UFC brand will only continue to grow and will establish itself, if it already hasn't as a sport that is huge on both the domestic and the international level. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Dana White began to put on cards in foreign countries more often than he has in the past. The UFC will only continue to grow on an international scale.
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