Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin
The UFC makes its way back to Brazil on Friday, June 23rd. This is the first time the organization has held an event in Belo Horizonte as they make their way into the Jornalista Felipe Drumond Stadium. This card will be headlined by MMA legends Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva and Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin who will be fighting for the second time as Silva looks to avenge a decision loss to Franklin from back in 2009. The card will also have the Middleweight and Featherweight finals for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The five main card bouts will be aired live on Pay-Per-View. There will be four preliminary bouts that will be aired live on Sportsnet in Canada and FX in the U.S. There will also be two preliminary bouts aired live on facebook.
Now for the breakdown:
Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) vs. Rich Franklin (28-6)
Nearly 12 years after his last fight in his home country, Wanderlei Silva finally has another opportunity to fight in front of his people in Brazil. Originally scheduled to have a rematch with rival Vitor Belfort, he now gets a rematch with another MMA legend, Rich Franklin, who is taking the bout on short notice to go into hostile territory. The last time these two fought, it was a fantastic back and forth with the American getting the decision. The fight will be contested at a 190 pound Catchweight. Both these fighters are well past the prime of their careers and are looking to make a statement. As their history has proven, both fighters want to keep the fight standing and will not mind turning this into a five round war. Rich Franklin is a very technical and powerful striker with a kickboxing base which he has used effectively to put several fighters to sleep. Although he has not fought in over a year, he is such a veteran of the sport that it should have little effect on his performance, especially considering how well he understands Silva’s fight style. He will need to keep his distance to avoid the clinch and pick his spots against the very aggressive and wild Brazilian. Silva has some of the best Thai striking in MMA history and we have witnessed it throughout his career and even recently against Cung Le. Silva will want to clinch and use it effectively as he has so often done to get the better of Franklin this time around. The biggest issue, as most believe, is his reputation for being too much of a brawler which has led to him being knocked out a few times over the past few years. He does not want to take too many shots from a powerful striker like Franklin. The fight will be an exciting one with many exchanges that gets both fighters in trouble. Will Wanderlei’s reckless style hurt him or will the long layoff affect the performance of Rich Franklin? It will a tough fight to call but it will be exciting to see it go into deep waters as these two legends slug it out with Franklin barely pulling it off.
Prediction: Franklin Unanimous Decision
TUF Brazil Middleweight Final: Cezar ‘Mutante’ Ferreira (4-2) vs. Sergio Moraes (6-1)
Vitor Belfort trained prospect, Cezar Ferreira, was originally scheduled to face Daniel Sarafian. Unfortunately, an injury forced Sarafian off the card and he will now be going up against submission specialist, Sergio Moraes to see who will claim the title as the Ultimate Fighter. Cezar is a very well rounded fighter but prefers striking, similar to Belfort. Moraes will look to get the fight to the ground, especially after getting knocked out in the semi-finals of TUF against Sarafian. Moraes is well known for his BJJ ability and if he is able to get Cezar down, he will have the advantage despite Cezar having a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Moraes has very crafty submissions as he proved on the show. His grappling ability is considered world class and has had a lot of success internationally in competitions. Cezar is a powerful fighter and mimics Vitor’s style in many ways. He is a heavy handed fighter with a solid all around base and very good hands. If he is able to keep his distance and avoid getting taken down, he will hold a major advantage. His size and reach should be enough to pick Moraes apart as Cezar ‘Mutante’ comes out as the Ultimate Fighter Brazil Middleweight Champion.
Prediction: Ferreira via TKO Round 1
TUF Brazil Featherweight Final: Rony Mariano Bezerra (10-3) vs. Godofredo ‘Pepey’ Castro (8-0)
Rony Bezerra and Godofredo Pepey proved to be two very well rounded and talented Featherweights on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. Rony showed his overall ability on the feet and on the ground and proved that he can be a potential threat in the UFC. He is a relentless fighter that has the better striking of the two as well as a very aggressive ground attack. Pepey, at 5’11, will be one of the taller Featherweights in the UFC and holds that advantage against a much smaller Rony. Considering his length, Pepey will always have an advantage on the ground, especially since he has such slick BJJ to begin with. On the feet, he will need to keep his distance or else Rony might get in too tight and get the better of him. Pepey is dangerous in all ground positions but both fighters will have a tough time pulling off submissions victories considering the jiu-jitsu base both fighters stem from. The difference in this fight may very well end up being the striking if neither fighter is able or willing to make the move to the ground. It should be very interesting to see how each fighter approaches the final as they have shown few flaws in their games. It is a close call but Rony should be able to use his power and his versatility to get the better of Pepey.
Prediction: Bezerra via Unanimous Decision
Fabricio Werdum (15-5-1) vs. Mike Russow (15-1)
After having a successful return to the Octagon, Fabricio Werdum looks to make it two in a row against the tough and durable Mike Russow. Werdum looked phenomenal in his return as the BJJ black belt dismantled Roy Nelson on the feet. His striking looked completely revamped and versatile and he is now far more than just a one trick pony. Russow has impressed in his four UFC bouts and has only had one poor performance that he ended up coming out with a spectacular come from behind knockout victory. Russow has a relentless wrestling base where he will get his opponents on the ground and he will be sure to keep them there. His last fight was against high level jiu-jitsu practitioner Jon Olav Einemo and he managed to avoid his submissions and dominate him on the ground. Unfortunately for Russow, he is going up against arguably the best submission grappler in the Heavyweight division. Werdum has some of the smoothest submissions in all of MMA and can use a wide array of manoeuvres to tap anybody out. If the fight stays on the feet, Russow will need to hope for a one punch knockout like he had against Todd Duffee. Werdum likely will not be able to knock Russow out but he should be able to beat him up and force Russow to want to grapple with him. When that happens, Werdum will use his specialty against Russow en route to a submission victory for the Brazilian.
Prediction: Werdum via Armbar Round 2
Yuri Alcantara (28-3) vs. Hacran Dias (20-1-1)
In his first three fights under the Zuffa banner, Yuri Alcantara has looked superb, getting very impressive victories against the likes of Ricardo Lamas and Michihiro Omigawa. He is going up against UFC newcomer Hacran Dias, who may not have any big wins but has some of the best training partners in MMA. Dias is well known for his technical jiu-jitsu. He has the ability to control a fight as soon as he gets his hands on his opponent. Alcantara is the better all around fighter and has knockout power as well as high level grappling ability. His size and strength gives him a major advantage in his fights and it has helped him take the fight wherever he wants. If Hacran wants to win this fight, he will need to push the pace and get into dominant positions and be sure to have Alcantara in trouble constantly. There has not been much evidence of Alcantara being at a disadvantage so Dias must rely on his potential grappling advantage to take away any comfort that Alcantara has. The overall advantage in this fight has to go to Alcantara who should be able to keep the fight standing and use his striking ability to make Hacran’s debut a rough one. If either fighter is able to get top position on the ground, they could very well coast to the end of any round but it is likely that Alcantara is able to beat up Dias in the clinch and keep his distance to avoid being put on his back.
Predicition: Alcantara via TKO Round 3