The Way It Is (and not much else)
UFC 72: Rich Franklin Strikes Back
Written By Rich Davidson
Photo Credit: Sherdog.com
There is no denying it; the fight card for UFC 72 is the UFC’s weakest offering in quite some time. I am a devoted student of the game, and all I can tell you is that Rich Franklin is fighting Yushin Okami, Forrest Griffin is fighting (somebody) and that some fighters with Irish heritage are making an appearance.
That being said, the intrigue of a Franklin/Okami battle is more than enough reason for me to tune in once again.
Everyone remembers, and will most likely never forget, the beating Rich “Ace” Franklin received at the hands of Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Many MMA writers and columnists seem to continuously harp on the outcome. I try to go against the grain to a degree, so there’s not much point in following suit.
Franklin takes Silva lightly. Silva destroys Franklin. Franklin loses title. Franklin has surgery.
The only question left to ask is, of course, “will he ever be the same?”
Let’s face it, this is a recurring theme in the world of mixed martial arts. Will Cro Cop ever be the same? Will Wanderlei Silva ever be the same? Will Chuck Liddell ever be the same?
There’s nothing like a serious beating to test a fighter’s spirit and heart.
Franklin is a warrior. He and Silva are big fish in a big pond full of many, many trash talking, arrogant, excuse-making fish.
Rich Franklin returned to action after a fairly short layoff. He addressed his mistakes (which I hope included his ego) and stopped Canadian submission wizard Jason MacDonalad at UFC 68 via TKO, overwhelming MacDonald from the outset.
Chapter two of Franklin’s comeback takes place in less than 2 weeks in Belfast, Ireland at UFC 72.
His opponent, Yushin Okami, is a more than capable and very game mixed martial artist. He has a nice upside and big future ahead of him, win or lose come UFC 72. Okami has faced some decent competition, most recently taking out Mike “Quick” Swick at UFC 69. There’s no doubt though; Franklin will be his toughest challenge yet.
The Way It Is: Barring a freak knockout or submission, Rich Franklin should overwhelm Okami early in the fight. Franklin is relentless. If you watch Franklin’s pre-Silva fights, he comes out swinging from bell to bell. As bad as he looked against Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin is easily one of the most effective, well-rounded fighters in the UFC. Punching, kicking, knees, takedowns, slams, and submissions are all a big part of Franklin’s impressive game.
Most of all, with Franklin-Silva II lurking in the not-too-distant future, Franklin should be more motivated than he ever has to pull out a win in this fight to secure the rematch.
Don’t get me wrong, Okami is great and he’s only going to get better. If the situation is right, I have no problem picking the underdog. In this situation however, I simply believe Rich Franklin will be too much for Okami to handle.
Bottom line, Okami is good, but he’s not THAT good. Don’t count him out completely, but count him out.
As for a Silva-Franklin rematch, those who enjoy this column can look forward to my thoughts regarding that match-up in the coming months (if and when Franklin wins at UFC 72)
Contact Rich about his above column by emailing him at [email protected] or in the forums directly in the public eye at this link.