Primer: UFC 103

By Jake Rossen Sep 19, 2009
In and out of the cage, Rich Franklin is making a career out of lateral movement: bumped from the middleweight division by Anderson Silva, he appears to have settled into a complacent role as filler putty for headlining holes in the UFC’s main events.

UFC 93 was a light heavyweight bout against Dan Henderson; UFC 99, a catch-weight bout against Wanderlei Silva; now there’s Dallas and UFC 103, which sees him in another 195-pound fence-straddle against a returning Vitor Belfort. It’s hard to ascertain exactly what the fight means: Franklin is supposed to be a 205-pound presence, so beating Belfort -- who eyes the 185-pound division -- can’t influence that much. Belfort has more to gain here.

But, hey -- plenty of titles and plenty of contenders. Sometimes a fight is just a fight. And Franklin has yet to have a dull one.

What: UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort, a 13-bout card from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas

When: Saturday, Sept. 19, at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view, with an undercard broadcast at 9 p.m. EST on Spike TV.

Why You Should Care: Because Belfort finally has the emotional maturity to match his physical development; because Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic can pop up as a serious title contender if he looks effective against Junior "Cigano" dos Santos; and because Frank Trigg is facing his worst nightmare -- a younger, cockier wrestler in Josh Koscheck. Himself, basically. It’s like time travel in a B-action movie.

Fight of the Night: Franklin-Belfort, assuming Belfort doesn’t fade in the second; Koscheck-Trigg if they follow the pattern of wrestlers who want to stand and strike.

Sleeper Fight of the Night: Drew McFedries-Tomasz Drwal. McFedries only needs to train for a one-round fight. Win or lose, he’s never seen minute six in the UFC. So-so for his career, great for fans.

Pre-emptive Complaint: Paul Daley is going to get shut right down by Martin Kampmann: it would’ve been nice to see him against someone who couldn’t smother him on the ground right off.

Hype Quote of the Show: “Frank wants to try to get back into the limelight and try to get eventually a title shot and he's got to come through Josh Koscheck to do that.”-- Koscheck, invoking the always-alarming technique of third-person speech.
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