Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva will meet for the second time at UFC 147.
Promotion officials announced Wednesday that the former middleweight champion will replace the injured Vitor Belfort in the June 23 headliner, which takes place at Felipe Drumond Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The bout will be contested at a 190-pound catch weight.
Belfort had been slated to square off with Silva in a rematch of their 1998 confrontation, but “The Phenom” was forced to withdraw from the planned booking after sustaining a broken hand. In addition to the newly announced headliner, UFC 147 will also feature a heavyweight clash pitting Fabricio Werdum against Mike Russow.
Franklin, 37, won the UFC middleweight title in 2005 and went on to defend the belt twice successfully before dropping it to Anderson Silva. After failing to recapture the 185-pound strap in a rematch with “The Spider,” Franklin won a unanimous decision over “The Axe Murder” at UFC 99 nearly three years ago. Since that victory, “Ace” has lost two of three, most recently falling by unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126 in February 2011.
Two years younger than his opponent, Silva formerly reigned as Pride Fighting Championships’ 205-pound champion. The Brazilian debuted with the UFC in 2007 and made the cut to middleweight in 2010, outpointing Michael Bisping at UFC 110 after falling to Franklin eight months earlier. Following a 27-second knockout defeat at the hands of Chris Leben last July, Silva rebounded with a victory over ex-Strikeforce champion Cung Le, earning a technical knockout over the Californian on Nov. 19 at UFC 139.