On Jun. 13, former UFC Middleweight champion Rich "Ace" Frankiln will go toe-to-toe with former Pride Middleweight champion Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva in what is sure to be a fight of the year candidate. Dubbed "The Comeback," UFC 99 will propel one of these fighters back into contention and the other back into the shallow pool of middleweights.
For Rich Franklin, this fight will not only put him in line for either a future title fight or at least a No. 1 contender fight. Franklin fought in January against Dan Henderson at UFC 93 and lost a fight by split decision that some thought he won. Yet, even before that fight, Franklin was on a tear through the middleweight division until he ran into now pound-for-pound champion Anderson Silva.
In Franklin's two fights before his loss to Henderson, he TKOd Matt Hamill with a liver kick and Travis Lutter with strikes. When Franklin was middleweight champion all of his fights but one ended in a knockout. Franklin is known for his knockout power and underrated Jiu-Jitsu game.
Wanderlei Silva, on the other hand, is 1-2 since entering the UFC and has suffered a decision loss to Chuck Liddell and a knockout in the first round by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Silva, though, was dominant in Pride as their middleweight champion, defeating such fighters as Kazushi Sakuraba (three times) and Quinton Jackson (twice).
When these two fighters meet in the octagon in Jun. 13, it is quite possible that these two will go the distance. Both fighters are notorious for their stamina and their stand-up skills. Rich Franklin does have a few submissions under his belt, but Silva does have a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The main difference between the two is the way they choose to strike. Rich Franklin is more of a kickboxer, while Silva has a famous Muay Thai game to match his hands. Both have knockout power and are willing to brawl.
Ultimately, this fight is one of the most overlooked fights coming up in the next two months because it's shadowed by UFC 100 and it's action-packed card. Nonetheless, this fight will surely be a crowd-pleaser.
The winner of this fight will probably face the winner of the fight between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and the winner of Michael Bisbing vs. Dan Henderson. On Jun. 13, the middleweight title picture will be clearer and one fighter, whether Franklin or Silva, will be on the outside looking in.