Rich Franklin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The respective careers of Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva are at a crossroads, and their scheduled meeting at UFC 99 in June couldn’t come at a better time for the fighters themselves and fans alike. But with the bout taking place at a catch-weight of 195 lbs, almost no one knows where either Franklin or Silva go from here, except for Dana White:
“I met Rich in the middle,” UFC president Dana White said of the decision for the catchweight. “Rich didn’t want to cut weight. He didn’t want to go back to 85, and Wanderlei hasn’t been to 85 yet.
“I think it’s a fun fight and it will be a fun fight to watch,” said White.
Regardless of the outcome, Franklin will continue to compete at light heavyweight while Silva is expected to debut as a middleweight in his next scheduled bout following the Franklin fight.
The decision to go their separate ways is the best idea for both fighters. At middleweight, Franklin would just be knocking off potential title contenders, but at light heavyweight, he can challenge for a belt in a division he’s yet to conquer. No longer a real threat at light heavyweight, Silva will also find new territory at 185 lbs. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.
In the above video courtesy of Fighters Only Magazine, Wanderlei Silva signs the paperwork that makes his much-anticipated catch-weight bout against former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin official.
Rich Franklin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In a battle of stars in career limbo, former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin will reportedly take on former longtime PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99, which is scheduled to take place on June 13 in Cologne, Germany.
The news comes from MMA Weekly, which reports that both fighters have agreed to the fight. Bout agreements have not been issued, and won’t likely be for the next few weeks, but the matchup is said to possibly be happening at a catch-weight of 195 lbs.
After losing his UFC middleweight title to Anderson Silva and failing to regain it in a subsequent rematch, Franklin moved to the light heavyweight division where he previous found success early in his career, and went on to score a third-round TKO of Matt Hamill at UFC 88 before losing a razor-close split decision to Dan Henderson this past January at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland.
Silva was mired in the longest losing streak of his storied career, dropping three straight fights, before he bounced back to score an impressive first-round knockout of Keith Jardine at UFC 84 last May. Despite defeating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in their two prior fights over in Japan years ago, SIlva was recently knocked out in the first round of their third meeting at UFC 92 in December.
Wanderlei Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After months of speculation regarding a potential move to middleweight for former longtime PRIDE standout Wanderlei Silva, the Brazilian has finally revealed that he intends to drop down to 185 lbs after a possible rematch with Chuck Liddell later this year:
“It’s my normal weight,” Silva says of the light heavyweight class. “I never cut down too much weight for a fight. Maybe I go to fight one more time at light heavyweight, and after I go down.”
While a move down to middleweight might not work out for Silva after all, it does seem pretty practical at this point. The UFC’s 185 lb. weight class features far fewer fighters with knockout power and a shorter route to a title shot compared to the light heavyweight division. While Silva’s popularity and exciting style won’t likely see him being released from the UFC anytime soon, continued losses, especially by knockout, aren’t going help his cause.
In the above video courtesy of Raw Vegas, Wanderlei Silva discusses a number of things following his loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 92 including potential rematches with Jackson and Chuck Liddell, his interest in fighting at UFC 100, and the opening of his new gym in Las Vegas among other things.
Forrest Griffin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a broken left hand during his title loss to fellow “Ultimate Fighter” reality show winner Rashad Evans at UFC 92 this past weekend.
According to the official list of medical suspensions released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission late last night, Griffin could be suspended until June 27 unless he is cleared early by an orthopedic doctor. At the least, Griffin will be suspended until February 12 with no contact permitted until January 28 for precautionary reasons.
Joining Griffin in terms of injuries suffered at the event was Cage Rage veteran Mustapha Al-Turk, who suffered a broken nose in his brutal loss to Cheick Kongo as well as Dan Evensen (left knee injury), Reese Andy (broken orbital bone), and Brad Blackburn (broken nose, left arm numbness) The aforementioned fighters will also be serving the same suspension timeline as Griffin.
Quinton Jackson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A fourth fight between longtime rivals Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva will likely not be taking place anytime soon after Jackson avenged two prior losses against Silva by knocking out the former PRIDE middleweight title holder in one of the featured bouts at Saturday night’s UFC 92 event in Las Vegas.
UFC President Dana White shed some light concerning future fights for the two veterans at the post-fight press conference for UFC 92. According to White, Jackson could end up being the challenger in Rashad Evans’ first light heavyweight title defense at some point next year.
Jackson however, seems to be more interested in a rematch with Forrest Griffin, who defeated Jackson via an unanimous, albeit somewhat controversial, decision following their stints as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show in July.
Rashad Evans. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Rashad Evans scored a third-round stoppage of fellow “Ultimate Fighter” winner Forrest Griffin to claim the UFC light heavyweight title while Frank Mir put on the best performance of his career in defeating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to recapture a piece of the UFC heavyweight belt that he once owned at UFC 92.
Evans came into his showdown with Griffin as an extremely slight underdog and the first two rounds of the bout were just as close. Both fighters connected with a mix of punches and kicks with great frequency, but Griffin likely escaped the first ten minutes with an edge on the judge’s scorecards.
A combination of a slip and a grazing right hand from Evans caused Griffin to fall to the canvas at the start of the third round. Evans, a former collegiate wrestler at Michigan State University, pounced on Griffin and landed some punches until the champion was able to tighten things up on the ground.
Frank Mir. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Two championships changed hands Saturday night in Las Vegas as Rashad Evans and Frank Mir each scored impressive stoppages over Forrest Griffin and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira respectively in the two featured bouts at the UFC’s annual year-end show. A full recap of the event will be posted shortly.
Complete results from the fight card:
Patrick Barry def. Dan Evensen - TKO (Leg Kicks)
Brad Blackburn def. Ryo Chonan - Unanimous Decision
Matt Hamill def. Reese Andy - TKO (Strikes)
Antoni Hardonk def. Mike Wessel - TKO (Strikes)
Yushin Okami def. Dean Lister - Unanimous Decision
Cheick Kongo def. Mustapha al Turk - TKO (Strikes)
Quinton Jackson def. Wanderlei Silva - KO (Punch)
CB Dollaway def. Mike Massenzio - TKO (Strikes)
Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - TKO (Strikes)
Rashad Evans def. Forrest Griffin - Submission (Strikes)
LAS VEGAS, NV (USA) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organization is proud to announce three classic bouts on the historic final card of the year – UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, December 27, 2008. The stacked fight card will be headlined by UFC light heavyweight champion and the original Ultimate Fighter Forrest Griffin as he defends his belt against The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 heavyweight winner Rashad Evans, who is fresh off a devastating knockout win over former UFC champion Chuck Liddell.
“We are ending 2008 with a fight card like no other,” said UFC President Dana White. “One for every fight fan out there.”
Not one, but two titles are on the line on December 27th as former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir continues his pursuit to regain the belt when he meets Interim UFC Heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira in a showdown between the two coaches of this season’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter. Also on tap is a grudge match between two former champions, as MMA legend Wanderlei Silva takes on former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.