Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva ends the show. Franklin enters to "Rock Superstar" by Cypress Hill, which is a change from his usual "For Those About to Rock" by AC/DC.
Round 1: Franklin lands a left and dodges a counterpunch by Silva. Franklin with a straight left. Silva with a low kick, Franklin counters with a straight left. Silva misses on a big swing. Franklin with a body kick and Silva lands a countering right hand. Silva with a high kick attempt, and another. Franklin goes back to the body kicks and Silva catches his leg for a takedown. Very different type of fight from the typical Wanderlei Silva fare, so far. Franklin has full guard. Silva lands a couple food fists from the top. Franklin pushes off Wanderlei's hips with his feet and escapes. Franklin takes Silva to the mat and mounts. Franklin with strikes from the top as Silva scrambles. Silva gets to his feet and they separate. 10-9 Franklin.
Round 2: Silva with a body kick and Franklin counters with an overhand right. Silva throws a kick and Franklin counters with a left to the body and an overhand right. Leg kick by Franklin. Silva throws a big right and Franklin drops him with a jab, which may have been a slip. Wanderlei's right back up. They trade rights. Franklin with an uppercut. Franklin with a body kick, and Wanderlei catches the leg to throw a big countering right hand, but whiffs on it. Silva with a nice left-right combo that staggers Franklin, and now Silva is advancing forward. Franklin looks hurt. Silva hammers away with one-two combos. The round ends, and Franklin is sucking wind in the corner. 10-9 Silva based on being closer to finishing the fight than Franklin ever was.
Round 3: They're taking turns tagging each other. Missing on high kicks, connecting with most of their punches. Both look tired. Leg kick by Franklin catches Silva below the belt, but he shakes it off in a few seconds. Both guys swinging hard for the knockout. Silva with a knee and a body kick. Franklin with jabs. Crowd is getting behind Silva, and he looks suddenly inspired. I believe "hulking up" is the wrestling term. Franklin blocks a head kick. Franklin with a body kick with a minute left. Wanderlei's waving to the fans to cheer louder. Silva backs Franklin up to the fence and throws a flurry of strikes. Franklin takes him down. Silva kicks him away and stands, but Franklin holds him on a waist lock. Silva ends the round frantically throwing back elbows at Franklin while being held from behind. I'd give it to Silva 10-9, scoring the fight for Silva 29-28, but it was a good, close one.
Winner: Rich Franklin defeats Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision after three rounds.
The crowd is not happy with that decision.
Franklin said after the fight that he thought 195 pounds was the perfect weight class for him, if only it existed as a weight class. Until then, he'll stick with 205. He also felt a bit vindicated to win a decision in a close fight, since he still believes he should have gotten the nod against Dan Henderson.
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