After Rich Franklin posted his huge win this past weekend at UFC 99, the former UFC middleweight king talks about his strategy against Wanderlei Silva, as well his thoughts on Silva’s chances at the weight class he once reigned.
“We just decided that we were going to use a lot of footwork as much as we could and try to move around,” Franklin stated after his narrow unanimous decision win. “The thing about Wanderlei is that he comes forward, and once his arms get started moving, he’s explosive and he’s dangerous.”
Although Franklin prepared extensively to avoid a slug-fest with the Brazilian, he almost fell victim to another vintage Silva highlight reel knockout in the second round of their fight.
“I knew that if I stood in one spot, I was going to end up getting caught with a couple of punches,” Franklin said. “Once (Silva) starts punching, he doesn’t stop until things get finished. I know I stood in the second round one time and got caught there and that was the beginning of it. I actually got caught behind the ear. Everything kind of faded to black for a second, but I was able to recover.”
Oddly, Franklin went back to his corner at the conclusion of the second round believing he was easily up two rounds -to-none. Most MMA enthusiasts, including yours truly, believed that he had taken the first round, however dropped the middle round, leaving the final five minutes to decide the outcome.
“I was confident that I was up two rounds at the beginning of the third round,” Franklin expressed. “Going into that, he changed up his footwork a little bit for the first two, two and a half minutes of the round, he was moving in a different way, and it had me confused. But I felt I had done enough to win the fight, even though I was in trouble in the second round.”
The judges scores were announced in a precarious way on this German card as the only time their numerical scores were released was for Dan Hardy’s (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) split decision win over Marcus Davis.
All unanimous decision victories were simply rendered as such, no numerical scores. It would have been interesting to see how each of the three judges viewed this 195-pound catch weight bout.
As far as his brief training camp with Anderson Silva, Wanderlei’s former Chute Boxe training partner, Franklin states that although it may have helped, there wasn’t a surefire formula provided to him that guaranteed victory.
“You go out to a place like that and it’s just another camp,” he said. “We were there for eight or nine days. He was gracious enough to work with me and I thank him for that. (I learned) little tips and tricks. Good training partners. I’ll take nuggets of information from that training camp, learning a few styles of the way they train, but other than that, it wasn’t like I was shown the secret to winning the fight.”
Despite dropping his fifth fight in his last six contests, Franklin believes that Silva is highly capable of being a force in the lighter middleweight division.
“Wanderlei’s been fighting at 205, he’s a strong fighter, and I think moving down to 185 he’s going to be strong in that weight class,” said the former middleweight. “He’s got knockout power for a 205-pound fighter, so when he goes down to 185, it’s going to be that much worse (for his opponents).”