UFC 126. i- Forrest vs Franklin

by B Thornton- Harwood

So it may be over a week since the Pay Per View aired but it was still action packed and there a few aspects of the event that I want to talk about in particular.

Firstly Forrest Vs Franklin. This match up was the fight on the card I was most excited about, in fact it was my favourite match up since GSP vs Koschek before Christmas.

For a start both  former Light Heavyweight Champion fighters are brilliantly likable, Forrest Griffin almost being the UFC’s poster boy, whilst Rich Franklin a former high school teacher that you just can’t fault as a bloke.

Both men are also extremely exciting fighters whilst inside the Octagon, Forrest having what is deemed by many as the best fight in UFC history against Stephan Bonnar in The Ultimate Finale 1, not only for the way both fought but for the effect it had upon the UFC as a sport and spectacle.

The same can be said of Franklin who’s last fight against MMA legend Chuck Liddell in June last year ended in spectacular fashion with Franklin utilizing a savage right hook late in the first round mere moments after sustaining a broken left forearm from blocking a head kick.

With two such superstars stepping into the Octagon I was expecting some huge fireworks, a slugfest, blood splattering the canvas, both men standing toe to toe for 15 minutes and a fight of the night award. My expectations, it seems, were far too high.

After a 14 month hiatus due to a shoulder injury for Forrest Griffin he took Forrest to the ground early in the first and generally roughed him up. The second round was more of the stand up war I’d expected but still nothing to really shout about, with Forrest scoring from some strong head shots.

Franklin went into the third knowing he had to pull out the big guns and finish the fight after loosing the first two, but simply couldn’t do anything whilst Forrest simply rode an easy and uneventful decision win, making only one successful take down in the dying seconds of the final round.

This was not what I thought either fighter would come out with, both pride themselves on exhilarating battles, knockouts and Fight of the Night awards, yet neither brought anything spectacular, with Forrest clearly sticking to a clear game plan of scoring ground points in the first and ensuring a win by out striking Franklin.

All of this is nothing compared to the wars that they’ve taken part in throughout their careers, and in the end proved to be a frankly disappointing fight, and leaves us fans wondering what’s next for both fighters within the Light Heavyweight, and arguably the most talent rich, division of the UFC.