After a great deal of tumult, UFC 147 goes down this Saturday night in Belo Horizonte, Brazil with a main event of Rich Franklin versus Vanderlei Silva. Silva, of course, was originally scheduled to take on fellow countryman and TUF Brazil coach Vitor Belfort, until Belfort pulled out with a broken hand. The co-headliners feature the finals of the Reality TV show in the Middleweight and Featherweight divisions, however the middleweight final is reconstituted and does not feature the last two men standing after the series concluded.
The Silva-Franklin main event is a rematch, and is at a catch weight of 190 lbs, so it is virtually meaningless to any of the UFC’s title pictures. It is also a hard fight to bet, so let’s take a look now that the match is here.
Right now the line stands with Franklin as a favorite at -185 with the comeback on Silva being +155. Franklin won their first meeting, a UD after 3 rounds of solid action.
For all intents, Franklin is coming off a layoff of over a year, and the thoughts are that he has healed some old war wounds and comes into the fight with the fresher body. Silva, though 2 years younger, has a lot of mileage on his body, and he has looked like a declining fighter for several years now.
This would point to making Franklin the smart bet, and that is likely the way the fight will go.
Ther eis one X-Factor however, and that is Silva’s motivation – is he going to want to go down in Brazil, his home country, or will that thought propel him to a level he has not been at for several years?
This was potentially Vanderlei’s last match, but now he is talking about getting the fight with Belfort in after this one. Well, the UFC and pappa Dana are unlikely to grant that request if he loses to Franklin. With the shadow of a match he is personally motivated for and one extra payday, we may see a rejuvenated Silva in this fight.
TO be straightforward, I dont think even that is enough to save Silva. Franklin is a smart fighter who can absorb punishment and usually fights to a gameplan.
Enjoy this fight, whether he wants to or not, this might be the last time we see ‘The Axe Murderer’.