The co-main event of UFC 126 will feature two UFC veterans: Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin. Both UFC fighters will be looking to prove that they are still legitimate contenders in the light heavyweight division. Despite Franklin and Griffin both coming off wins in their last fights, Franklin has lost 2 of his last 4 bouts and Griffin has lost 2 of his last 3; Griffin’s win comes from a split decision against the aging Tito Ortiz while Franklin’s most recent win was in knockout fashion against UFC hall of famer, Chuck Liddell, who was already on the brink of retirement before the fight. These wins leave many questions to be answered on where Franklin and Griffin stand in their careers today.
Age 31 36
Record 17-6 28-5
Striking Offense 38% 46%
Striking Defense 62% 61%
Takedowns 31% 67%
Takedown Def. 63% 70%
*Items in bold signify an advantage.
Griffin and Franklin both possess great knockout power, and they bring in a combined 18 knockout wins into this bout. Although 15 of those are accredited to Franklin, Griffin’s power is not to be undermined. This fight will probably have the crowd on their toes, and each fighter slugging it out. Each fighter is very aggressive. Franklin displayed his aggressiveness in his bout against Liddell, and Griffin showed this against Silva. Griffin’s over-aggressiveness resulted in a knockout while walking forward. Both fighters are very even in this category, but a slight edge goes to Griffin. I see Griffin’s age factoring into his speed. Franklin may have more power, but ultimately Griffin being 5 years younger will give him the edge.
The clinch doesn’t seem like a very crucial aspect of this fight. Franklin showed a little bit of escaping from the clinch of Liddell in his fight. Griffin has also shown some skill in the clinch before. Griffin has shown good clinch skills against Stephan Bonnar. For this reason, slight edge goes to Griffin again.
Rich Franklin is a current brown belt under black belt Jorge Gurgel and also trains with black belt Dustin Hazelett in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Recently Franklin submitted current black belt, Dan Doerner. Griffin has displayed decent Jiu Jitsi in his career, but Franklin is more experienced, being surrounded by high ranking BJJ instructors. Franklin is also over twice as successful as Griffin in takedown percentage. The clear advantage is given to Franklin in this aspect.
Despite giving Griffin the advantage in two of three aspects of the fight, my final prediction will favor Franklin. I think Franklin will defeat Griffin in a similar fashion as to when he fought Liddell. He may be battered and bruised, but will land one punch to put Griffin to sleep. I expect both fighters to stand and trade, and the fight to definitely be on any popular MMA News site, making for some excellent highlights.
Winner: Rich Franklin (KO)