Friday, June 12, 2009

Fight Week Previews: Franklin vs. Silva

Time to tackle the Main Event.

While I wouldn't call it "the match up fight fans have been waiting to see" or whatever they've billed it as in the commercials, it certainly is an interesting tilt and one that should contain some serious fireworks.

And for those saying this is a sub-par Main Event, UFC 89 (Bisping vs. Leben) and UFC 95 (Sanchez vs. Stevenson) could tell you a thing or two about being sub-par, not "Ace" and "The Axe Murderer."

Rich Franklin (26-4) versus Wanderlei Silva (32-9-1)
Let's get the training team and training partners angle out of the way right off the bat, shall we?

It certainly doesn't hurt Rich Franklin to be training with Anderson Silva, just because he's Anderson Silva. The fact that Silva has previous knowledge and experience training with Franklin's opponent is clearly a bonus.

That being said, it also pisses off "The Axe Murderer" and even the way that sentence sounds comes off a little dangerous. It's not like Wanderlei trains in solitude either. The entire Wand Fight Team lives under one roof and Silva is a true pioneer in cross-training and circuit training.

As has been the case with a lot of the main card fights, training is a wash.

Franklin and Silva share one mutual opponent: Dan Henderson. Both suffered losses to the former Pride dual champion, though Franklin came out on the wrong side of a close decision in his last fight, while Wanderlei was knocked stiff in his last Pride bout.

Though Franklin gets a slight edge from his "better" result against Hendo, Wanderlei has the stronger overall competition. Not to take anything away from the guys Rich Franklin has fought and defeated, but Wanderlei has been in the ring with some of the best when they were at their peak and came away victorious more often than not. Then again, Wanderlei has two losses in three UFC fights, while Franklin has three in four and a half years...

Stylistically, this fight is a nightmare for Wanderlei Silva. I know that sounds strange, but guys who are willing to take a couple shots to find the right counter-punching opportunity are his kryptonite. Look at the Rampage fight. Franklin is strong enough on his feet and has exhibited a strong enough chin over the years to take a couple of "The Axe Murderer's" early offerings and still move forward.

While Franklin is no slouch on the ground, perhaps this is one time that it might be beneficial for Silva to display the BJJ skills he is reputed to have. After all, you don't train with a multiple time world champion and not pick up a thing or two.

24 hours before I tell you who I like, I still don't know. This whole card has me second-guessing and over-analyzing, and those are the cards I really enjoy.

See you tomorrow for the Punch Drunk Predictions.

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