After taking a few weeks off to recharge the batteries, UFC returns with a special event in China on Fuel TV that will be headlined by a middleweight showdown between Rich Franklin and Cung Le.
The 38-year-old Franklin looks to change a pattern of alternating wins and losses, which he has done in his last seven fights. He won his last bout against Wanderlei Silva in June via decision.
Le brings his kickboxing expertise into the octagon for the first time since July at UFC 148 when he earned his first UFC victory over Patrick Cote.
Where: Cotai Arena in Cotai Strip, Macau
When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Watch: Main Card airs on Fuel TV at 9:00 a.m. ET; Preliminary Card airs on Facebook at 7:00 a.m. ET
|FUEL TV MAIN CARD|
|Middleweight Bout: Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le|
|Light Heavyweight Bout: Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov|
|Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago|
|Lightweight Bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Mac Danzig|
|Bantamweight Bout: Motonobu Tezuka vs. Alex Caceres|
|Lightweight Bout: Tiequan Zhang vs. Jon Tuck|
|FACEBOOK PRELIMINARY CARD|
|Flyweight Bout: Yasuhiro Urushitani vs. John Lineker|
|Middleweight Bout: Riki Fukuda vs. Tom DeBlass|
|Bantamweight Bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Hougland|
|Welterweight Bout: David Mitchell vs. Lim Hyun-Gyu|
Franklin's Keys to Victory
Use size and reach advantage to overpower Le in later rounds
Franklin should be coming into this fight as a heavy favorite over Le. While neither fighter is at their physical peak due to age, Franklin is a much bigger middleweight than Le and should have a simple game plan to beat him.
Franklin holds a seven-inch reach advantage (76" to 69") and three-inch height advantage. He is naturally stronger and more powerful than Le. Franklin should have no problem dictating the pace and tempo of this fight, as a result.
Le's Keys to Victory
Speed and quick fists are his biggest allies
What Le lacks in size he has to make up for in speed and knockout power. His best bet to win this fight is to keep his hands up and protect himself, hope that Franklin tires himself out early, at least enough for Le to land a big shot.
Le is so one-dimensional in his style that if Franklin gets the fight to the ground, it's going to end in a hurry. He needs to keep moving around in order to keep Franklin from backing him into a corner and just beating him to a pulp.
What They Are Saying
While Franklin still has business to take care of, he is talking about things a little further into the future with the possibility of a fight with Michael Bisping.
Franklin told MMA Weekly Radio (h/t ESPN UK) that his plan to get back into middleweight title contention, if it is even possible, would be to shoot for one of the top guys in the division.
I don't believe the UFC, I don't believe they're going to give me a title fight after this. I believe there's going to be another step in that process.
I don't know who that would be, if it would be somebody like a Bisping, or something like that, but winning a fight always puts you in the right direction.
Selling a third fight, as Franklin goes on to say, with Anderson Silva would be a virtual impossibility. But you have to keep thinking about the ultimate prize if you are an athlete, which is what Franklin is doing.
Undercard Fight to Watch
David Mitchell vs. Lim Hyun-Gyu
A potentially fun welterweight bout will kick off the show on Facebook, with Mitchell fighting to save his job after two losses to begin his UFC career, and Lim trying to make a name for himself in his first UFC fight.
Mitchell specializes in fighting on the ground, so it will be imperative he gets things to the mat early and control the pace while fighting to lock in a submission.
Lim's knockout punch has been on display in promotions like M-1 Global and PXC, but we have to see if it will translate to UFC. Considering that this is his debut, and he wants to impress the top brass, don't be surprised if he comes out firing like a mad man.
As alluded to above, it just seems like it will be very difficult for Le to defeat Franklin due to the size and power advantage Franklin has. You would never say it's impossible, because Le does have a decent punch, but it certainly doesn't look good.
Franklin wins via second-round TKO