Pros Pick: Liddell vs. Franklin

Thiago Alves & More

By Mike Sloan Jun 12, 2010
The UFC 115 main event features two storied former champions: Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin.

Both men have moved beyond the dominant days of their careers, but their bout at GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is still an interesting one. Liddell has been victorious only once in his last five bouts. Franklin hasn’t done a whole lot better, going 3-3 in his last six.

More pressure seems to be on Liddell, who many believe to be on his last legs. However, like Franklin, Liddell has revamped his preparation and reports claim he’s never looked better in training. The outcome is anybody’s guess, as both Franklin and Liddell can score a knockout with a single shot and their chins have betrayed them before.

Sherdog.com caught up with dozens of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the battle:

Thiago Alves: I think Liddell is the bigger man with more power. Standup, it shouldn’t be a problem (for Liddell). Plus I don’t think Franklin can hold him down. So I go with Chuck.

Pedro Rizzo: I think it will be a fight with a lot of striking and Liddell wins by knockout.

Tom Vaughn: Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin is a cool fight if they both come fired up. A much more interesting fight than Chuck-Tito for the third time. In my opinion Chuck beats Tito 100 out of 100 times. Sometimes one fighter just has the other's number, and it never changes. Funny, I don't think Tito ever wanted to fight Chuck in the first place, but when someone calls you a puss that many times, you gotta meet them out by the bus or you never live it down.

Rich Franklin is a "thinking fighter" that is athletic, strong and tough. He seems reasonably comfortable on his feet and blends his tools pretty well. Now that Chuck has been exposed as "human," Franklin will be more apt to exchange. Chuck Liddell is a true fighter who feels more than he thinks. He is said to have all the components but will most likely spend the fight trying to sock Franklin in the head because it’s dope to get that KO. This fight will likely be 90 percent standup. If the fight goes to the ground, it won't stay there long. I see Rich Franklin using multiple attacks (punches, kicks, knees and elbows) to outwork Chuck in a close fight. It’s too bad either one of these guys has to lose, but my prediction is Rich Franklin via decision.

Tim Kennedy: I'm going to take Chuck. They are both coming off tough losses. I know Chuck still has the desire to train and compete at the highest level. He is the best champion the UFC has ever seen, and I hope to see him wear the belt again. I think Chuck has the footwork, angles and power to hurt and put away Rich, although I'm not very objective on this one.

Nam Phan: I would have to go with Rich Franklin on this one only because he looks like Jim Carrey and maybe he can make Liddell laugh to death. Also because Franklin has taken less damage throughout his career and looks in better shape physically as well as mentally.

Sam Hoger: I think this bout is between two champions that have reached the pinnacle of the sport and want to recapture the glory of holding the title. The looming question is whether Chuck can catch Rich with his big overhand or can Rich outpoint Chuck. Rich is a cardio machine that relies on picking guys apart until he wears them into oblivion, unless they are Nate Quarry. Chuck is a guy that tries to hunt his opponent down until he can corner them to drop his bomb on them, unless they are Rampage. However, the Vitor fight showed that time is wearing on Rich’s chin, and the Shogun fight showed Chuck is not the hunter he once was. That being said, Rich will be trying to pick at Chuck while dodging bombs for three rounds. It is hard to dodge bombs for three rounds, but I see Rich pulling it off. Last time I bet against Chuck was on the Jeremy Horn fight, and he all but killed Horn. So don't be surprised if he wins, but I'm leaning towards Rich.

Derrick Noble: During one of my recent lavish weekend parties, I finally extended an invitation to Nick Thompson, mostly in hopes that his second cousin once removed, Daisy, would make an appearance. I have been living this wealthy lifestyle only in an attempt to gain Daisy's attention. Whenever Nick is around he always asks me about the upcoming fights, so I had to let him in on my plan. I have bet all of my money on Chuck Liddell winning this fight by second-round KO. If Chuck wins, my wealth will increase and Daisy is sure to be mine. Chuck Liddell must win this fight by second-round KO and make a return as one of the best 205 fighters in the UFC.

Jeff Joslin: This is a tough pick. I think they'll both come into this fight in great shape, each ready to fight hard to get back on the winning track. I'd love to see Chuck mix things up by blending some takedowns in with his striking, but I have a feeling he's going to want the KO finish. That could be a good thing, though, as I think many fans are hoping to see him get back to knocking fighters out. In the end I think Franklin will pull out a decision victory by using a lot of movement, picking good opportunities to attack and taking the fight into the later rounds.

Nick Thompson: After finally garnering an invitation to one of Noble’s garish Saturday night parties held in his gothic mansion, Noble and I discussed his love of Daisy and how his extravagant lifestyle is simply a ploy to attract his old flame and we also discussed the fight between Franklin and Liddell. And I think Noble put it best when he said, “Well, old sport, I think Liddell may catch lightning in a bottle one more time.”

Michael Guymon: I see Franklin taking this fight. Everyone has caught on to Chuck's game, which has not changed one bit. I also feel that Rich will use kicks to set up the end result: KO in the second round.

Scott Epstein: Chuck by following his evolved game plan.

Stav Economou: I like both fighters and would hate to see either guy lose, but I see Rich Franklin taking this, second-round TKO. As much as people hate to admit it, I think Liddell is finished against top competition and Franklin is still a top fighter.

Mike Pierce: Chuck’s gonna beat that teacher’s ass (laughs).

Wallid Ismail: I think Liddell wins by knockout.

Tom Gavrilos: Rich loves to exchange and cannot take Chuck down. I think those two things will actually play into Chuck’s favor. Chuck by KO, round two.

Kultar Gill: Chuck by bully beatdown in the second.

Shonie Carter: Well, here it is, another epic battle between two former world champions, but in this case we have a southpaw versus a much more accomplished kickboxer who has stood the test of time by knocking those out who were demons of MMA. On the other hand, a seemingly unorthodox heavy-handed striker that can impose his will on most of his opponents. This is one for the books to be determined by the size of the heart of who actually shows up this time between the two of these fine MMA pugilistic combatants. Will we see the Dancing with Stars superstar Charles Liddell? Will we see the Xyience commercial Richard Franklin? My bet is that they both have something to prove considering they are both victims of a knockout in their last outings on the big stage of MMA. In my opinion, I will root for Charlie, especially since I am a prodigal stepchild of the PIT on occasion. I am still aware of the dangerous southpaw style that Richard has in his arsenal. In this case, size simply matters and I will have to go with Chuck if he ain't (messing) around with playin’ coochie-coochie coo! And by the way: Chuck gimme yo new number, man! I will stop sending dirty text messages. I will send them only to Cruz and Scott!

Thiago Tavares: The fight will have a lot of striking. Rich will not take him down, and Liddell will not want to take it to the ground. Franklin will be able to box better and will win by decision.

Cristiano Marcello: Both have very similar games. They like striking. I believe it will be a studied fight. My guess is that Franklin wins because he has more rhythm in the fight. Liddell has gone a long time without fighting.

Billy MacDonald: This is another fight that I would have liked to see on a card a few years ago. At first glance it simply seems that it will be a slugfest with the first big punch to connect ending the night for one of these guys. Although I would like to see the Chuck of old come back to life, I just don't see it happening. I think Rich will close the distance quickly and will put Chuck to sleep either late in the first or early in the second round after a feeling-out process that will eat up the opening few minutes of the fight.

Ray Elbe: Rich Franklin beats Chuck Liddell, proving once and for all that the Mohawk should have gone out of fashion with the Last of the Mohicans.

Josh Thomson: Chuck by KO in the second.

Stephane Vigneault: It’s not a fight I am very attracted to, but I see Franklin (winning). I like Chuck, but I think he should retire before he gets hurt. Franklin by TKO in round two.

Lee Mein: Never retire till you can't lift your arms anymore. This fight is going to be a first-round knockout. Once they start swinging, someone is going to sleep. Rich uses his punch/kick combos a little more, but I think Chuck is going to give out the heavier shots. Chuck wins and I am never wrong. Just ask my ex-wives.

Carlos Barreto: Both are great athletes and have been at the top. I think if Rich will be conservative, fight cautiously and intelligently, he wins by decision. As for Liddell, it will depend if he used his time without fighting to develop skills and revise his strategy of combat -- something that I find difficult after so many years fighting the same way. I respect and admire Liddell so much, but I think Franklin wins the decision.

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