Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin was successful in his catch-weight bout against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany.
Franklin and Silva went to war for three full rounds with Franklin picking Silva apart with precise striking to earn the unanimous decision.
In the co-main event, the heavyweights were put on display as undefeated prospect Cain Velasquez dominated Cheick Kongo with superior wrestling and ground and pound.
With the victory, Velasquez solidified himself as a top contender in the heavyweight division.
Also in action, Mike Swick earned his fourth straight victory in a row with a second round TKO over Ben Saunders. The victory may or may not have earned Swick the next title shot, considering the champion Georges St. Pierre defends it against Thiago Alves at UFC 100.
Now that UFC 99 is in the bag, let’s take a look at what’s in store next for some of the fighters who competed on this card.
Where does this victory put Rich Franklin in a stacked Light-Heavyweight division?
Defeating an MMA legend like Silva in an exciting three-round war is a memorable moment for any fighter’s career.
However, in terms of the Light-Heavyweight rankings, this victory hasn’t done much for Franklin. It was a great fight, but it doesn’t put him into title contention or move him up in the rankings.
The reason for this is because he fought Silva at a catch-weight of 195 pounds. And, although Silva is considered a legend in the MMA community, one has to take into consideration his losing five of his last six bouts.
Franklin will need at least two or three more victories over worthy opponents in order to be considered for a shot at the Light-Heavyweight title.
An ideal matchup for Franklin would be Brazilian striker Luis Cane.
Cane is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division and is riding a three-fight win streak. A victory over an opponent like Cane would help elevate Franklin in the top 10 rankings and move him closer to a title shot.
But that isn’t the only option.
Depending on how long Franklin wishes to wait before his next fight, he could take on the winner between Keith Jardine and Thiago Silva. Both of those fighters are ranked in the top 10 and Franklin would match up well with either of them.
Should Wanderlei Silva retire or look to recreate his career in the Middleweight Division?
It’s no secret that Silva is nowhere as dominant as he was back in his PRIDE fighting days.
However, for Silva to go three rounds in a very competitive fight with Franklin proves that “The Axe Murderer” still has what it takes to compete against top fighters.
If Silva were to have suffered a devastating knockout at the hands of Franklin, then it would be a different story. But he didn’t—Silva fought hard against a world-class fighter in Franklin and came very close to finishing the fight on several occasions.
Silva will not be retiring anytime soon, nor will he be released from his UFC contract. He will make his long awaited move down to the middleweight division and look to work his way up to a title fight with archrival Anderson Silva.
Silva would need to have a strong showing in his middleweight debut, and he would need to defeat a tough opponent. One fight that stands out would be against heavy-handed Canadian slugger Patrick Cote.
Both Cote and Silva are known for their knockout power, and a fight between the two would be very exciting.
Is Cain Velasquez next in line for a Heavyweight title shot, or will he need another victory?
After his dominant performance over Kongo, Velasquez solidified himself as a top contender in the UFC’s Heavyweight division. Velasquez is now 4-0 in the UFC and 6-0 overall in his MMA career.
He has dominated everyone who has been placed in front of him with his superior wrestling base.
When talking about who is next in line for a Heavyweight title shot, there are two names that stand out: Cain Velasquez and Shane Carwin.
Both fighters have been hyped up as the future of the Heavyweight division—so far they have lived up to it.
Like Velasquez, Carwin is also undefeated (11-0) and is coming off of a huge victory over a top-ranked opponent in Gabriel Gonzaga.
Should Mike Swick fight the winner of St. Pierre vs. Alves?
With his TKO victory over Saunders last night, Swick is now 4-0 since dropping down to Welterweight.
With four consecutive victories, Swick can certainly make a case for deserving the next title shot.
However, those victories weren't against legit top-10 welterweights.
One could argue that Swick would need to defeat a ranked opponent before being considered for a title shot. If that is the case, then an ideal matchup for him would be to take on top-ranked contender Martin Kampmann.
Kampmann is coming off an impressive victory over the former WEC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit. He also recently turned down a fight with up-and-comer T.J Grant because Kampmann only wants to take on the upper echelon of the division.
Swick said the same thing after his fight with Saunders.
A fight between the two would not only make sense, but it would determine a clear-cut No. 1 contender to the Welterweight title after St. Pierre defends his title against Alves in July.