Chuck Liddell (21-7-0)
Rich Franklin (27-5-0, 1 NC)
Koei-Kan Karate, Kempo Karate, Kickboxing, Wrestling, BJJ
Freestyle, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
|28 matches||21W||7L||33 matches||27W||5L|
|By knockout||13||5||By knockout||15||4|
|By submission||1||1||By submission||9||0|
|By decision||7||1||By decision||3||1|
Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin is a mixed martial arts veteran but prior to fighting in mixed martial arts was a school teacher and will be looking to teach Liddell a thing or two at UFC 115 in Vancouver, Canada. Franklin’s been in the UFC for what seems like forever when he made his debut at UFC 42 but prior, he fought in organizations such as Extreme Challenge and World Extreme Fighting compiling a record of 10-0 (with one no contest). The UFC signed Franklin and paired him up in his octagon debut against Evan Tanner (rest in peace), Franklin won the fight, followed by a victory over Edwin Dewees at UFC 44. Both wins were won by TKO (strikes) in the first round. Franklin stepped away from the octagon and fought four of his next five fights in other organizations and suffered his first loss against Lyoto Machida at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003: Inoki Festival. His next fight in the UFC fight was against Jorge Rivera at UFC 50: The War of 04′, a fight that he won followed by four more consecutive wins, which took his UFC win streak to seven (other wins were over notables Shamrock, Tanner, Quarry and Loiseau). The win over Tanner gave Franklin the Middleweight Championship, which he successfully defended against Quarry and Loiseau. At 21-1 (1 NC) and security of the belt, the UFC matched up Franklin against Anderson Silva and not only did Silva hand Franklin his second loss, but he’s held the belt ever since. Franklin was able to bounce back in his next two fights against Jason McDonald and Yushin Okami, which gave him the number one contender spot for Silva’s title.
Yet again, Silva dominated the fight but ‘The Spyder’ is questionable the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He can make a fool out of his opponent (and himself) by dancing around the octagon. At the same time, he can back it up by knocking out the likes of Forest Griffin with a jab while moving backwards… who does that? You can’t expect Franklin to beat Silva, ever. He won’t do it, and personally I don’t think anyone right now has the ability to beat Silva. This certainly doesn’t mean Franklin isn’t a talented fighter and have a great shot and beating Liddell. After the loss for the middleweight title, Franklin won back-to-back fights against Travis Lutter and Matt Hamill (both TKOs) but at UFC 93, lost the headline fight against Dan Henderson via split decision. In his most recent action, Franklin beat Wanderlei Silva by unanimous decision followed by a TKO loss to Vitor Belfort. Don’t let the fact he has lost his last four main event fights (two to Silva, Henderson and Belfort) fool you, his nickname is ‘Ace’ for a reason (other than looking like Jim Carrey) and his resume is full of knockouts over talented fights. His five losses have come against four of the best fighters ever to grace the Octagon. Machida, Silva, Henderson and Belfort? That is a great class of fighters and to say your only losses have come at the hands of those fighters shouldn’t discourage anyone to pick Franklin over Liddell. As talented as Chuck is was, he’s clearly on the downward end of his career, as he’s already questioned retirement prior to agreeing for this fight. Liddell is no one to take lightly, but he is giving up five years to Franklin (35 compared to 40 is a big deal), and he’s lost four of his last five fights… that doesn’t sit well with me.
Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell has been around the block once or twice and fought on ever corner of it. He is a legend of the the Ultimate Fighting Championship and one of the only fighters who can say his first professional fight took place in the UFC, way back in 1998 (UFC 17). You can go buy the VHS if you want. His UFC debut was against Noe Hernandez (he won via decision) and afterward bounce back between other organizations and the UFC for just over a year. Only six fights in Liddell’s career have come outside the octagon. Three were against nobodies in no-name organizations and three came in PRIDE FC. He next fought in the UFC against Jeremy Horn and lost, and while many would think Liddell could have never lost to Horn (he beat him later in his career), the sport of mixed martial arts was much different back in the late 90′s. Following the loss, Liddell ripped off seven wins between UFC 22 and UFC 40 with one more in PRIDE FC establishing himself as one of the best fighters in the MMA world. Opponents such as Jeff Monson, Kevin Randleman, Guy Mezger, Vitor Belfor, and Ranato Sobral all feel victim to the up-and-coming star. Taken a step aside for a moment, this fight was originally supposed to be between ‘TUF: Season 11′ coaches Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. The reason I mention this is because Ortiz pulled out and it’s not the first time Liddell has had it happen. At UFC 43, Ortiz held the belt and wouldn’t defend it against Liddell which forced him to fight Randy Couture for the ‘interim’ Light Heavyweight Belt. Couture completely dominated the ground-game and won via TKO late in the third round. ‘The Iceman’ next went over to Japan to represent the UFC in the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand-Prix and in his first fight made quick work of Alistair Overeem. In the second-round of the tournament style championships, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson got the best of Liddell as his corner was forced to throw in the towel.
After returning back to the UFC, Liddell finally got his chance at Tito and won by knock-out in the second round. Vernon White was the next on his resume before Liddell got a rematch at Randy Couture for the Light Heavyweight Championship. This time, Liddell would have none of Couture’s ground game and knocked him out early in the first round. He’d go on to defend the belt against Jeremy Horn, which would mean the only loss in his career he had yet to cancel out was the loss to Rampage. After the back-to-back Couture-Horn victories, Liddell once again defended his belt against Couture(UFC 57), than Renato Sobral (UFC 62) before taking care of Tito Ortiz yet again (UFC 66). At 20-3 with four consecutive title defences it was looking at if Liddell was unstoppable and he finally got his chance to redeem himself against Rampage. Unfortunately Jackson hit him with a right look, which put Liddell on his back before Quintin unleashed a rampage of punches to win the fight. Since the loss to Jackson, Liddell has lost fights against Keith Jardine (UFC 76), Rashad Evans (UFC 88) and Shogun Rua (UFC 97) with his only victory coming against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79, in what many considered to be the fight of the year (2007). But it could have gone either way at any point… and if you notice a pattern, you aren’t alone. Almost all of Chuck’s UFC wins have come earlier in his career, between UFC cards that weren’t far apart (49,52,54 57,62,66, going 6-0). Those were the early days when MMA wasn’t main-stream and the level of talent was clearly much lower (hence fighting on so many cards so close) His last six fights came on much more spaced out fight cards (71, 76, 79, 88, 97 and this fight at 115, going 1-4 + ?), which is evidence the UFC has a vast amount of skill and talent to display. It’s also proof that Chuck Liddell in on the back-end of his career and the entire mixed martial arts world has passed him at full spell… that includes Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin.
TheCoach’s Pick: FRANKLIN VIA DECISION
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