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Franklin decisions Silva in Classic!
Velasquez, 'Cro Cop' shake up heavyweight division with victories at UFC 99

Report by Brady Crytzer
Photos courtesty of Josh Hedges, UFC

In the main event of UFC 99: The Comeback, former UFC middleweight champion Rich “Ace” Franklin defeated former PrideFC middleweight champion Wanderlai “The Axe Murderer” Silva via unanimous decision after a three round firefight.

In its first appearance in Continental Europe, the Ultimate Fighting Championship presented a catchweight special attraction featuring two of the sport’s most revered former champions.

Franklin, the former UFC middleweight champion and Silva, the former PrideFC middleweight champion, met Saturday night at a catchweight of 195 lbs in Cologne, Germany at the LanXess Arena. With both fighters coming off of losses in their previous bouts, fans expected a fast paced contest fraught with high risk situations.

That’s exactly what they got.

After an extended and respectful feeling out process the fighters took turns exchanging fast punches. While Franklin threw punches that were largely calculated and precise, in contrast Silva winged wild haymakers that resulted in many near misses. Franklin broke the pattern by slapping a hard kick to the body which was quickly snatched by Silva.

With Franklin’s leg in tow, Silva slammed the former middleweight champion to the mat. Franklin displayed an educated guard while fighting off of his back and quickly escaped as time expired.

Round two saw the fighters once again trying to time each other with one and two punch combinations. Franklin found success early with southpaw right-left combinations but was kept honest by a Silva overhand right that found its mark. Franklin once again turned the tables however when he produced a flash knockdown after connecting with a southpaw left cross.

With a minute left in the round Silva blasted Franklin with multiple windmill right hands that badly hurt the Cincinnati native. Flashes of the early 2000’s came into mind as “The Axe Murderer” chased down his prey. Franklin recovered nicely and landed a head kick as the round ended.

The firefight burned hotter than ever in the third round as both men felt the wrath of their opponent’s well educated hands. Time and again the head of Silva was snapped back by Franklin’s diving blows. Against the cage Silva lured Franklin into a clinch and managed to snap off a trademark knee in classic “Axe Murderer” fashion.

In what could’ve been the climax of the bout, Franklin survived a late rally by Silva and slammed the Brazilian to the mat. The fighters clinched and exchanged blows until the final bell.

Following a great show of respect from both fighters, the judges’ decision was announced.

Rich “Ace” Franklin walked from the cage as the unanimous decision victor. No scores were announced.

“I had a lot to prove since I fought last in Ireland,” Franklin said. “I didn’t want this to go to a decision. Wanderlai is way too good of a fighter to go down from that. I have admired him as a fighter since before I was fighting.”

Velasquez Mauls Overwhelmed Kongo

Heavyweight hopeful Cain Velasquez mauled a much more experienced Cheick Kongo over three rounds with lightening fast takedowns and brutal ground n’ pound en route to a unanimous decision victory. No scores were given.

Velasquez, with just five fights in his professional career, appeared to be in over his head against his more experienced opponent after being crushed with two devastating straight right hands. Though he was badly wobbled, Velasquez slammed Kongo to the mat and began a ground n’ pound clinic that would not stop until the final bell.

In the opening round, Velasquez body slammed Kongo a total of three times. By staying in a dominant position, the young hopeful rained down blows and attempted several chokes en route to finishing the round.

The second round saw Kongo once again nearly shatter the dreams of Velasquez with another precision accurate right cross. Round one would play itself out once again as Velasquez smothered and battered Kongo for the remainder of the period. Blood poured from the nose of Kongo as Velasquez confidently snuffed out any attempt at offense by the French native.

Round three was the most competitive of the fight was Kongo managed to escape the relentless takedown attack of Velasquez and stun him with a hard punch. His momentum would be short lived however as he was taken down and hammered with knees to the body. The round ended with Velasquez punishing Kongo with hammerfists.

Judges’ scores were not announced, but all three selected Cain Velasquez as the winner via unanimous decision.

Swick Too Quick for Saunders

Mike “Quick” Swick used speed and experience to defeat Ben “Killa B” Saunders in the second round via TKO at 3:47.

The opening round saw the more experienced Swick get a quick takedown and begin to work from the guard of the rangy Saunders. Following an egregious stalemate, the fighters traded verbal jabs. The referee stood the fighters up and the round ended with some unceremonious exchanges.

The second round saw Swick pressure Saunders early to avoid another slowdown of action. Swick tripped his taller opponent to the mat and began to work with hard shots. The fighters were suddenly stood up and action resumed.

In a flash after a Saunders low kick, Swick exploded on his opponent with five right hands and a punctual left hook. The fight was waved off as Saunders crashed to the canvas at 3:47.

No Style Points for Cro Cop Return

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic made his UFC return a successful one by stopping Mustapha al Turk in the opening round after an accidental eye poke that was unseen by the Octagon official.

In the opening moments of the fight it appeared that al Turk was looking to end the bout as early as possible as he lunged with wild rights and sloppy kicks to the head and body. Though al Turk was leaving himself openly because of his undisciplined striking, Cro Cop seemed content to simply walk his man down without throwing any strikes.

Suddenly, al Turk was sent sprawling by a Filipovic southpaw left and found himself on his back. With the much more experienced Croatian now searching for the KO, al Turk was allowed to stand up.

While launching a southpaw cross, Filipovic accidentally drove his finger into the eye of his opponent. In extreme pain, al Turk fell to the floor where he was hit by a few more punches until the fight was waved off at 3:06.

Hardy Settles the Score, Decisions Davis

Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy defeated “The Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis in a welterweight grudge match via split decision. All three judges scored the bout 29-28, twice falling in favor of Hardy.

Although their prefight trash talking seemed tough to top, Davis and Hardy did not disappoint in their three rounds of back and forth action. Davis began the contest by bullying Hardy into the cage and tripping him to the mat. After regaining his footing, Hardy surprised the former professional boxer Davis by slamming a hard elbow into his face.

Hardy kicked off round two with a bang as he used slick clinch work to send his opponent to canvas courtesy of a quick knee. In typical Davis fashion the Boston native did not stay down for long as he locked in a tight armbar on his much younger opponent. Following an escape, Hardy found himself in deep water as Davis smashed a southpaw left hook into his jaw.

The final round would ultimately determine the fight as Hardy slowly took control. Davis started strong by dropping his opponent with a left and following up with hard shots from the top position. After a Hardy reversal, Davis found himself beneath his younger opponent and eating hard elbows. With blood smearing his face, Davis would be on the defensive for the remainder of the round.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28, twice falling in favor of Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy. Hardy has been victorious in all three of his Octagon appearances.

Fisher Outpoints Returning Uno

Fisher was shot on early by the former Japanese superstar but defended nicely. After closing the distance Fisher pressed Uno into the fence and the pair stalemated in that position for nearly two minutes. Fisher used creative boxing to score hard punches on Uno to close out the remaining time in the round.

The first half of the second round was fought almost exclusively on the mat. With Fisher in to top position, the fighters jockeyed for position amidst the very vocal “boos” of a anxious LanXess Arena. With under a minute left in the period, Fisher continued to score with short punches from inside the guard of Uno.

The final round saw the men clinch again following a takedown attempt by Uno. After a scramble, Uno found himself in the top position and spent the remainder of the round transitioning from mount to back, but could not submit his opponent.

Judges’ scorecards were not given, but the bout was announced as a unanimous decision for Spencer Fisher.

Undercard Action

The 6’10 heavyweight Stefan Struve survived an early onslaught to submit Denis Stojnic in the second round with a rear naked choke. The more powerful Stojnic battered Struve in the first round with hard punches from the top position. In round two Struve caught his stout opponent in a tight choke and, despite being covered in blood, forced the tap at 2:37.

John Hathaway scored a three round unanimous decision over Ricky Story. The welterweight bout was contest largely on the ground.

The hard hitting welterweight Paul Taylor defeated Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision after three rounds.

Lightweight Terry Etim submitted Justin Buchholz with a slick d’arce choke in the second round.

UK 170 pound standout Paul Kelly used superior grappling and control to score a unanimous decision victory over Roli Delgado.


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