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UFC 115 Preview – Rich Franklin Vs. Chuck Liddell

This fight was originally scheduled to be the third fight in the blood war between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell; a war that Liddell has owned. But Ortiz had neck issues and had to pull out of the fight, throwing Rich Franklin into the mix. The UFC is hoping that the waning star power of both Liddell and Franklin will overcome the memories of both guys being knocked out in their last fights.

Franklin looked out of sorts while losing to Vitor Belfort. And Liddell hasn’t fought since losing to Shogun Rua by knockout in a fight that made Liddell fans worry about his well being. In 2005, this fight would’ve been something to look forward to. In 2010? Not so much.

Pat Barry faces Miko Cro Cop in the other fight that we’ll talk about.

The FGB crew, along with Stevie J from Angry Marks and friend of FGB JP, are here with predictions for the two fights.

Pat Barry vs. Mirko Cro Cop

Duan: Barry by unanimous decision
Alan: Barry by 2nd round TKO
Stevie J: Barry by 2nd round TKO
JP: Barry by 2nd round TKO
Cactus Jim: Barry by 2nd round TKO
GG: Barry by 3rd round TKO

Duan says:

Now really UFC, Crocop vs. Pat Barry is the best you can offer as chief support? Honestly, if this card does in anyway well, it just proves that there is a lot of people out there with more money than sense. The fact that this result is even up for debate means that Crocop should be long since retired. And you know what, I’m going to have to go with Barry in this one. He’s unproven at the top level, but he’s aggressive and you know he’s going to want this.

Alan says:

CroCop is a shell of his former self and Barry is a hungy young fighter.

Stevie J says:

When this fight got moved up into the spotlight I foolishly said “Mirko Filipokills HD” to a friend and promptly got challenged to a steak dinner wager on my prediction. Well let me just say I’m happy to pay up if I’m wrong, but I want to set the record straight on this fight – I +want+ Cro Cop to win but I’m not sure he’s got the tools in the shed to do it. Like Liddell I think Cro Cop has entered a phase in his life where he’s half a step slower than everyone else, knows he won’t ever be the top guy again, and doesn’t have the discipline in training that guys the likes of Randy Couture do to keep them (almost) eternally young. In my heart I want to believe in the myth of “left kick hospital, right kick cemetery” like the old PRIDE days, but it’s 2010 and sometimes whether you like it or not you have to let go of dreams and deal in reality. The reality is Barry is five years younger, probably twice as fast, and has won by both brutal leg kicks to Dan Evensen and brutal strikes to Antoni Hardonk. He’s a heavyweight whose stock is on the rise, Cro Cop’s has fallen given he has to be handfed lower tier heavyweights to put wins together. With reach, weight and age all in HD’s favor I predict a second round KO, but no one would be happier than me to be wrong.

JP says:

Cro Cop was in his glory days before I was really paying attention to the sport, so I don’t have as much insight as to what he used to be capable of. So every time Cro Cop is set to fight and fans start predicting head kick KO’s and the epic return of Mirko Filipovic, I never buy in. Same goes for this fight. Pat Barry is younger, shorter but bigger and plenty powerful with his strikes. Much like the JDS fight, I expect Pat Barry to stalk Cro Cop for a round, pick his shots with both hands and feet, before pouring it on and finishing Cro Cop in the second.

Cactus Jim:

Mirko isn’t the guy he used to be and I think Pat’s power and footwork send Mirko to a full time career in politics.

GG says:

Pat Barry has wanted this fight for awhile now, and I’m not sure that Cro Crop even wants it now. He’s talked about not enjoying how he has to present himself at UFC events and how he just wants to fight and not have everything else that goes with it. Barry is hot right now and I think that he probably wins the fight. He also has a tremendous personality and if he’s the real deal, he’d be truly marketable. But I’d love to see the old Cro Cop just this one last time. Maybe Cro Cop can keep that distance and use his reach advantage? Probably not though.

Rich Franklin vs. Chuck Liddell

Duan: Franklin by 2nd round TKO
Alan: Franklin by 1st round TKO
Stevie J: Franklin by 2nd round TKO
JP: Franklin by decision
Cactus Jim: Liddell by 2nd round TKO
GG: Franklin by 3rd round TKO

Duan says:

I feel like I should be more confident of this result than I am. Liddell is shot to bits and coming off a year plus lay off, and he’s going against one of the smartest guys in the sport. Come on, this should be an absolute no-brainer. The reason an element of doubt has crept in is two fold. Rich hasn’t shown any sign of real knockout power in a long time, and his chin has become a huge area of concern. Those two factors combined give Liddell hope. I still think Rich takes it though causing a stoppage through an accumulation of shots.

Alan says:

Yeah great, Chuck has abs now, whooohooo. Unfortunately your abs are about three feet away from your chin so they aren’t gonna help him when he’s getting clipped on his glass jaw and going down.

Stevie J says:

Given than UFC 114 did a huge buyrate and UFC 116 is likely to do a MONSTER buyrate with Lesnar vs. Carwin headlining, this PPV and it’s main event becomes the redheaded stepchild of UFC shows – and in a month where a free Ultimate Finale comes a week after this show it doesn’t help that much. The killer here though isn’t the timing or the cards on the other shows – it’s the questionable idea of Chuck Liddell main eventing let alone fighting at all. Against Tito Ortiz it was somewhat feasible given they were rival coaches and both somewhat past-their-prime as top level guys, but against Rich Franklin I honestly fear for Liddell’s well being. Sure he’s not going to win another title any time soon in his weight class with Anderson Silva around, possibly not ever as the comp has gotten much deeper, but Franklin’s style has led to him not taking severe damage and his serious commitment to fitness and nutrition leave him very fit and ready to compete on short notice – this is not the first time he’s stepped in – he’s UFC’s go to guy in that situation. On paper it’s the “two legends, one chance to make a statement” fight, but in reality it’s the always ready guy against the “too many brutal knockouts” guy, the “party lifestyle” guy, the “I wish for his own good he’d retire” guy.

JP says:

This fight would have been a huge deal a few years ago but now it is just an interesting contest between two Hall of Famers. Chuck was all pumped up to fight Tito and I believe that fight would have ended with another KO for Chuck, but Franklin is a smarter fighter and will wisely avoid Chuck’s attempts at power shots. I can’t see this fight happening anywhere but on the feet and both guys are capable of landing a finishing shot, but I think this plays out a lot like Chuck-Wanderlei, Wanderlei-Franklin and Hendo-Franklin—a battle on the feet that thrills the fans and leaves Rich Franklin with a unanimous decision.

Cactus Jim says:

He’s been out of action for a while, but I think he still has enough to take Franklin out. It’s no secret that I think Franklin has never been that great a fighter. I’m the odd man out on this one, but I am sticking with my pick.

GG says:

I really hope Jim is right, but I have a feeling that this fight is going to break my heart. Once I started this website, I changed from fan to someone who tries to be as unbiased as possible. There are two exceptions though. One is with Brock Lesnar and the other is with Chuck Liddell. It’s so hard to be unbiased watching those guys fight. Chuck is the guy who got me interested in watching MMA and I’ve seen as many of his fights as possible. He’s my dude. And yet, I’m trying to think of ways in which he can win. If Franklin decides to stick his head out and test Chuck, I do think Chuck can win that fight. But Franklin’s not going to do that. He’s going to keep his distance and fight a smart fight. My hope is that it goes three rounds and Chuck isn’t hurt, but I have a feeling he’s going to take a lot of punishment in this fight.

There you have it. We’re nearly unanimous in our selections, which can only mean we’ll all be wrong.

We’ll be back Saturday with our play by play of the event. I’ll be blogging from the movie theater.

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