From winning the first season of The Ultimate Fighter to becoming UFC light heavyweight championship, Forrest Griffin has always displayed grit and determination in his fights. Tonight was no different, as he took out fellow former UFC champion Rich “Ace” Franklin over the course of three close and grueling rounds.
Griffin established dominance early, using his evident size advantage to bully Franklin around the cage. The Xtreme Couture-stationed fighter swept the first round by continuously dragging Franklin to the mat and threatening simultaneously with ground and pound and position advancement.
The second round again showcased Griffin’s ability to combine deft technique with his size to dominate Franklin on the mat. The former Augusta, Georgia police officer also found success in the stand up however, and even briefly dropped Franklin with a beautiful counter left hand.
In the third round the results of Griffin’s long layoff were on display, as his punches came slower and his takedown attempts much more infrequently. Franklin kept fighting back and started to gain steam in the striking department before Griffin got a takedown. From there, the two men scrambled back and forth, trading takedowns up until the closing seconds of the bout, when they went back to slinging leather.
Griffin was awarded a unanimous decision over “Ace” and with it, picked up his first win since a late-2009 split decision over Tito Ortiz (also the last time that Griffin appeared in the Octagon). His record improves to 18-6 with the win, while Franklin’s falls to 28-6.