Franklin Bests Silva on Points

By Greg Savage Jun 14, 2009
Rich Franklin rebounded from his controversial decision loss to Dan Henderson by defeating legendary veteran Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision in a 195-pound catch-weight bout Saturday at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany.

The UFC 99 main event was a close 15-minute battle in which both fighters were on the verge of finishing the duel.

Franklin (25-4) took control in the first round, scoring with effective strikes while staying out of range and frustrating Silva, who was looking to counter. Silva did score a late takedown but could not do much with it.

There was a scare for the former UFC middleweight champ in the second period. Silva landed a hard right hand to the temple of Franklin that left him staggering backward. Silva swarmed but could not find the mark with any of his strikes.

"You know when you get hit and you see black for a second?” said Franklin of the second-round strike. “Everything came to, not like the ones where I get hit and I don't remember where I am for a few minutes."

The third round was a seesaw battle with both fighters scoring with strikes. Silva (32-10-1) charged forward throughout the round, throwing haymakers and imploring the German audience to cheer. Franklin weathered the storm and picked his shots as well, eventually scoring a takedown along the cage with less than a minute left in the fight. Silva climbed back to his feet with just seconds remaining in the bout, but it was not enough for the former Pride champion.

"I didn't want this one going to a decision,” Franklin said. “I tagged him a couple of times good in the first round, but Wanderlei is way too skilled of a fighter to go down from that. He's a true warrior, somebody I've looked up to even before I was fighting."

Franklin also touched on the 195-pound catch-weight and where he will fight in the future.

"This is more doable for me. If there was a 195-pound weight class, it would be perfect,” he said. “Until then, I guess I'll stick around at 205."

Velasquez knocks off Kongo

Top heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez survived a pair of knockdowns to start his professional career with six straight wins. Cheick Kongo had flashes of brilliance in the bout, but he was ground down over 15 minutes by the superior wrestler.

File Photo

Velasquez dominated Kongo.
Velasquez was dropped to start both rounds one and two but showed a solid chin, recovering to win each round dominantly. Long thought to be a future heavyweight championship contender, he showed why he is so highly regarded but also showed vulnerability.

The inability to keep the fight standing cost Kongo (14-5-1) a chance to contest for the heavyweight title. In line for a championship match, Kongo found himself on his back over and over, eating punches and knees to the body from the former PAC-10 wrestler of the year.

Velasquez bloodied and battered Kongo to remain perfect, but the performance did not meet his own standards.

"I should have done better,” Velasquez said. “It wasn't good enough for me. I know it wasn't good enough for my coaches."

‘Cro Cop’ stops Al Turk

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic made a successful return to the Octagon by defeating Mustapha al Turk by TKO at 3:06 of the first round. “Cro Cop” was leading handily after dropping Al Turk with punches, but the finishing blows came after an accidental finger into Al Turk’s eye.

Al Turk immediately covered his eye with his gloves and hunched over. Referee Dan Miragliotta did not see the infraction and the action continued unabated.

"I'm sorry,” stated Filipovic (25-6-2). “I didn't want it to be that way, but that's not a thing that makes a difference in the fight."

“Cro Cop” flurried on Al Turk (6-5) until it was apparent he could not fight back, and Miragliotta stepped in to save him from more damage.

"I am satisfied with my performance,” Filipovic said. “I think it's on a better level than the last time in the UFC.”

Swick smashes Saunders

Mike Swick outclassed Ben Saunders on his way to a TKO victory in the second round of their welterweight bout. The fight got off to a bit of a slow start, with Swick scoring a takedown and Saunders holding on from the bottom, but the finish was explosive.

Swick (14-2) moved forward throughout the fight, stalking Saunders and backing him up against the cage. As he was retreating, Saunders (7-1-2) found himself on the receiving end of a flurry of punches. The telling blow was a right hand to the temple that buckled Saunders’ legs. Swick jumped on his fallen opponent and punched until referee Leon Roberts rescued Saunders at 3:47 of the frame.

"I want to keep moving up," Swick said. "This is my 10th fight in the UFC. I'm 9-1. I want to fight for the title. I want to fight top guys. Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre, Thiago Alves -- all of the great guys."

Fisher gets nods over Uno

Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno tussled for 15 minutes in a lightweight match that lacked a whole lot of action. Fisher (23-4) did just enough in the first two rounds to earn a unanimous decision.

Uno (25-11-4) had the best round of the three, taking Fisher to the mat and pounding away from the top position to close out the last 90 seconds of the final round, but it was not enough to sway the judges in his favor.

Fisher used an improved sprawl to thwart Uno’s repeated takedown attempts in the fight. With the exception of the final round, he was able to get back to his feet after Uno was successful in taking him to the mat.

Fisher took the first two rounds on the strength of landing the most meaningful strikes. The win marked his third straight in the UFC’s lightweight division.

Hardy walks the walk

Dan Hardy did everything he could to throw Marcus Davis off his game in the buildup to their welterweight showdown, questioning his Irish roots as well as his skills. The needling may have paid dividends as the young Brit took home a split decision (29-28, 29-28 and 28-29).

While it was a close, contentious affair, the fight never turned into the knockdown, drag-out scrap most were hoping for.

Hardy kept his composure in the first round after Davis put him on his back and went to work in his guard. Eventually Hardy made it back to his feet, where he landed a nice right elbow to the face.

The second round saw Hardy drop Davis with a left knee from the Thai plum. He followed him to the canvas looking to finish the bout with a ground-and-pound attack. Davis, however, clearly recovered from the earlier blows and used an aggressive guard to secure an armbar, but Hardy was able to fight it off.

Davis looked as if he may have taken control of the bout when he collapsed Hardy to the mat with a straight left to open the third frame. He leapt into Hardy’s guard after the knockdown and punched away at his rival. Davis transitioned into a series of leg and ankle attacks, but Hardy escaped to his feet.

Hardy then landed the most significant strike of the bout when he cracked Davis with a right elbow that carved a cut on the bridge of his nose and looked to have wobbled the former pro boxer.

The two fighters exchanged punches as the final round came to an end before sharing an awkward handshake after the final bell. After the scores were read, Davis refused to shake Hardy’s hand and waved him away.

“At this level of competition, you need every advantage you can get,” said Hardy in a show of respect after the bout. “Marcus is one of the toughest guys in this division. All this psychological stuff ... I don’t need friends; I need opponents. Marcus is a cool guy. I just want to say I respect him a lot and all of his team.”
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