This coming Saturday, November 10, the UFC takes the CotaiArena in Macau as they make their Chinese market debut for UFC on Fuel TV 6. The evening’s main event will see former UFC Middleweight Champion face off with former Strikeforce title holder Cung Le. The two were originally slated to meet at UFC 148, but Franklin found himself stepping in for Vitor Belfort on short notice to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147.
Franklin currently sits as a -310 favorite on the bill. The Jorge Gurgel brown belt will be making his return to middleweight division for the first time since 2008, putting together a respectable 4-3 run at light heavyweight and a few one-off catchweight bouts that only saw him fall to former champions. “Ace” most recently returned from a 16-month layoff to take a win over the aforementioned former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva for the second time in his career.
Le, the underdog, sits at +250. The Sanshou specialist is 1-1 since debuting in the octagon. After a comeback loss to Wanderlei Silva last November, Le acquitted himself of much criticism by taking a lopsided unanimous decision over former title challenger Patrick Coté at UFC 148.
When looking at the match-up, it is important to remember that both men’s propensity to play the striking game. While both are unorthodox strikers, the Strikeforce import has a very distinct advantage in the kicking department, while shear power and boxing technique goes the way of Franklin.
While we’ve seen Le break the arm of Frank Shamrock with a kick, and witnessed “Ace” block one from Chuck Liddell inappropriately, leading to his own broken arm, Franklin’s heart came into play as he fought through and still earned a knockout victory back at UFC 115.
The reality is that Franklin sits a favorite for a reason, he has fought exponentially better competition, across two weight classes, has displayed the ability to overcome adversity, and shown that he can hurt a person with one odd-angled crack on the feet. Meanwhile, Le has shown that the wheels can come off if he’s hurt badly enough. The Vietnamese-American’s lack of a serviceable ground game should be enough to give bettors pause, as Rich displayed vastly improved wrestling and jiu jitsu his last time out against “The Ax Murderer”, moreover, the fact that he’s more willing to do battle on the ground than ever before stands a glaring advantage, especially when one takes into account the sometimes putrescent cardio that Cung has displayed in the past.
It’s hard to ignore that many of facts lean the way of Franklin, despite the chance that this may very well be a closely contested bout. The fact that “Ace” is a more well-rounded fighter should come into play, making him a viable favorite.