Tap Selections: UFC 72

Here are our predictions for today’s UFC 72: Victory. Our usual picks are included along with some thoughts from fellow fighters and MMA media on the main event - Rich Franklin vs Yushin Okami.

Urijah Faber, WEC Featherweight Champion: I’m gonna give a slight advantage to Franklin. I think Okami has a bit of a size advantage against others he has fought. Not the case with Franklin.

Eric Schafer, UFC Light Heavyweight: Okami is a huge 185lber and has the strength and technique to control almost any middleweight, but I think Franklin has enough skills to hold him off. I think Franklin will land more on the feet and be active enough on the ground to win a decision. Okami will do good and get a takedown or two, but will not do enough damage when he is controlling the fight.

Elvis Sinosic, UFC Veteran: I think Franklin will have the edge in this match. Okami is a tough skilled fighter is good at grinding his way to victory. Franklin tends to be more explosive in his style. Franklin has problems with fighters who can push him, I don’t think Okami will do that. Though if Okami gets control he will definitely have the ability to grind out Franklin to a decision. I pick Franklin to win by Dec for stronger work rate.

Din Thomas, UFC Lightweight: I’m picking an upset… Who’s the favorite? Hell if I know.

Cole Miller, TUF 5 Cast: Franklin will win. He’s too big, striking is better, and the levels on the ground are too close for one to make a difference over the other.

Evan Tanner, former UFC Middleweight Champion: I’m taking Rich in this one. I know from experience that Franklin is very strong. His strength should be able to match Okami’s. Rich’s striking is on a different level and that’s how I see the fight ending.

Frank Mir, former UFC Heavyweight Champion: Frank Mir - This is going to be one of the more technical fights that fans have seen in recent months. Both fighters have a set plan and their chance to win will be based on the fighter that is able to execute their strategy the best. Franklin will most likely want to keep the fight standing since his striking is far superior compared to Okami. Okami might want to use his strength to control Franklin on the ground. My choice for the winner of this fight is going to be Rich Franklin because even if the fight goes to the ground, I think Jorge Gurgel has Franklin prepared enough that he will be able to hold his own on the mat.

John Marsh, UFC Veteran: I like Okami in this one. He seems to be the better wrestler and that’s always good against a guy who has rarely seen the ground in his career.

Tamden McCrory, UFC Welterweight: Franklin by TKO in the 2nd round.

Frankie Edgar, UFC Lightweight: I like Franklin this one. If Okami decides to stand with him, he’s definitely going to lose, bottom line.

Zach Arnold, Fight Opinion: Franklin should win the fight by judges’ decision.  It will be a long, grinding battle with Rich ultimately squeaking-by. It may not be the most crowd-pleasing fight on the card.

Goze, Tagg Radio: Franklin and Okami are very similar fighters. Okami is a big 185 pounder by fight night, I think he will out muscle Franklin the way he did Swick. Rich still hasn’t show that he is completely comfortable on the ground which is exactly where Okami is going to want to take this. I’m taking Okami in a 3 round upset decision.

Benjamin Glossop, Knockout Radio: I would really like to see Franklin win but I’m taking Okami in this fight. This is one of those times where I hope I’m wrong.

Jeff Sherwood, Sherdog: Okami by decision.

Greg Savage, Sherdog: Rich Franklin is on the road to redemption and the only thing standing between him and a rematch with Anderson Silva is Yushin Okami. Okami presents some interesting dilemmas for the former champ but his style seems tailor made for Rich. He is a passive counter-striker and Franklin has made a living picking apart guys with that style. I see Franklin winning a decision after a tough three rounds.

Elias Cepeda, InsideFighting: In order to win, Franklin will likely have to hurt Okami with strikes on the feet. Okami is a big strong 185-lber like Franklin, and that size coupled with good wrestling off the shoot and in the clinch can give Franklin a lot of problems. Franklin will not want to be hanging around off of his back with Okami on top of him. Franklin has good Jiu-Jitsu but Okami knows what he’s doing on the ground as well, as his recent ADCC tournament appearance is testament to.

Okami has started off relatively slow at times in the UFC and Franklin should come out guns blazing right off. He’ll have the gas tank to last and he will likely have to contend with Okami’s trying to take him down one way or another. Better to try and at least catch Okami off guard a little and put him on the defensive. I think this fight will go to a decision unless Franklin gets the KO. I would like to pick Okami because I feel he has an excellent skill set but I feel he would likely need to grind out a win to beat Franklin and so he’d better be in even better shape than he appeared to be against Mike Swick at UFC 69.

Tom, UFC Mania: For the most part Franklin is a fighter who overpowers his opponents with strength, power and aggression. Okami is a fighter who “Ace” will have a hard time pushing around the Octagon. He’s a strong man ... just ask Mike Swick. I don’t think Okami wants any part of Franklin’s stand up. He’ll probably look to take this fight to the ground, get top position and pound out the former champion. However, Franklin is not easy to take down. And once he is down, he usually finds a way to get up quick. I see Franklin ending this via technical knockout late in the fight.

Dann, UFC Junkie: I wish this were a five-rounder because I think the fight would be decided no earlier than the fourth. As it is, I think Yushin Okami’s traditional slow start will spell disaster here, and Rich Franklin wins it with a unanimous decision.

Eric, UFC Junkie: I expect a tremendous seesaw battle — Okami taking damage on his feet before closing the distance and getting Franklin down, then Franklin receiving some ground and pound while looking for submissions andsweeps from the bottom. Look for several transitions and both fighters taking significant damage along the way. Either fighter can win this fight. If Franklin wins, its likely a TKO stoppage in the later rounds. If Okami wins its likely on points scored with takedowns and ground control. Ultimately I look forward to a very exciting fight, and I’m betting small on Okami for value as the underdog.

Scott White, MMA on Tap: This is an interesting fight… Rich Franklin will have the edge standing but Okami is a slow, patient fighter who is extremely strong and good from the top. I think it’s going to be all about who imposes their game better. If Okami can work his takedowns for the better part of three rounds and work from the top, he’ll pull off the decision victory. If Franklin can stuff Okami’s takedown attempts and utilize his strikes he will win the fight. I like both fighters but I’m going to take Yushin Okami by decision.

John Chandler, MMA on Tap: Franklin is an easy choice to win in this fight, at least for me. Franklin’s strikes are light years above Okami’s skills on the feet and it’s definitely going to show in this fight. Franklin is just as strong as Okami so the chances of this fight going to the ground aren’t very promising in my eyes. Franklin by TKO in the 2nd round.

Scott White (74-39)

Yushin Okami
Forrest Griffin
Jason MacDonald
Tyson Griffin
Ed Herman
Marcus Davis
Eddie Sanchez
Dustin Hazelett

John Chandler (75-38)

Rich Franklin
Forrest Griffin
Jason MacDonald
Tyson Griffin
Ed Herman
Jason Tan
Colin Robinson
Dustin Hazelett

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