UFC 147 in Brazil was headlined by legends and future hall-of-famers Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva (34-12-1) and Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin (29-6). Soccer-style cheers rose in waves for local favourite Silva, while Franklin sported a new hairstyle and tight pink fight tights rather than his staple brown and pink fight shorts.
Fans and the UFC had high hopes for this fight, which had Franklin replace an injured Vitor Belfort. Ace and The Axe Murderer didn’t disappoint. Franklin used distance, timing, and his trademark body kicks to stifle Wanderlei’s love of brawling, while Wanderlei used his counter right to send his own message to Franklin.
Franklin has never been submitted, and though he has been finished, he's never been knocked out cold. Anderson Silva put Ace down with and endless barrage of punches, knees, and shins, but that day Franklin remained conscious. Ace doesn’t seem to have an off button, which came in handy when Silva connected with crisp sharp punches, put Franklin down, and nearly convinced the ref to stop the fight. But Franklin kept scrambling, and when the bell signified the end of the round, Franklin, a former math teacher, strolled to his corner of the Octagon looking as though he could still perform long division.
In round three it was obvious Silva had emptied a significant portion of his gas tank. Franklin used a body lock and trip to take Silva to the mat, and once there, enjoyed payback for the flurry of punches he’d eaten at the end of the second round.
Sensing defeat, Wanderlei entered the fifth round in brawl mode, and fans got a whiff of The Axe Murderer of old. But fans also saw why brawling just doesn’t work against technical fighters with good hands, feet, movement, and game plan. Franklin dropped Silva with a left in the final seconds of the final frame.
Historians know pink is a colour that used to be worn into battle. It began its downward slide in the minds of some when Nazis used pink triangles to denote homosexuals in concentration camps. Franklin did his share to take pink back from the Nazi's ill use of it, winning a unanimous decision over Wanderlei, and becoming the only fighter to beat the Brazilian twice.
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