Liddell vs. Franklin

The main event of UFC 115 on Saturday is a battle between two former UFC champions as Rich Franklin faces off with Chuck Liddell in a Light Heavyweight contest.

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Franklin enters the fight as the favorite with a betting line of -160 with Liddell given a line of +130 according to online sports book BroburySports.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this main event bout, which will take place from General Motors Palace in Vancouver, British Columbia at 10PM ET on pay-per-view.

Rich Franklin (25-5)

Strengths: Franklin is a very skilled striker that uses a nice mixture of jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and kicks. While not necessarily having one-punch knockout power, Franklin does pack a lot of power in his punches and uses a frequency of them to break his opponents down. Franklin’s biggest strength may be his kicks to the body, which have allowed him to finish a few fights in his career. Franklin is also fairly under-rated on the ground, as he has never been submitted, but has nine submission victories.

Weaknesses: While Franklin is a crisp striker, he lacks top-level speed, which has caused him to lose to fighters like Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort. Franklin has a respectable chin, but was virtually knocked out from one-punch by Belfort in his last fight. In this contest, Franklin will have to stay mobile and not open himself up to a clean shot from Liddell.

Last Five Fights:

First round TKO loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 103 on Sept. 19, 2009

Unanimous decision win over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99 on June 13, 2009

Split decision loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 93 on Jan. 17, 2009

Third round TKO win over Matt Hamill at UFC 88 on Sept. 6, 2008

Second round TKO win over Travis Lutter at UFC 83 on April 19, 2008

Chuck Liddell (21-7):

Strengths: Liddell is one of the most famous UFC fighters of all time and part of that reason is because he likes to get in the octagon and throw bombs. Liddell has made his career on knocking out his opponents due to his hand speed, his punching power, and his ability to stay off the ground. While his hand speed and power may have decreased over the years, his takedown defense has still been top notch and his ability to stay off his back always gives him a fighting chance in any bout.

Weaknesses: Liddell has struggled to accept that fact that this isn’t 2005 anymore and his once-successful way of doing things not longer works in today’s MMA. Despite having a wrestling background, Liddell hasn’t shown any desire to use it, even when facing a superior striker. Liddell still lives and dies on the idea that he will eventually knock his opponent out during a fight, and that mindset has produced more losses (4) than wins (1) in the last three years.

Last Five Fights:

First round TKO loss to Mauricio Rua at UFC 97 on April 18, 2009

Second round KO loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 88 on Sept. 6, 2008

Unanimous decision win over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 on Dec. 29, 2007

Split decision loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 76 on Sept. 22, 2007

First round TKO loss to Quinton Jackson at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007

Who will win: If both men continue their same fighting trends, you have to like Franklin in this fight as he mixes up a greater variety of strikes and he has enough punching power to knock Liddell out. Franklin does have a tendency to get tagged in a fight, but he should have the chin to handle a good punch or two from Liddell. Look for Franklin to utilize body kicks and pick apart Liddell with his jab en route to a third round TKO victory.

Additional Line: Over/Under 9.5 minutes for fight length. Over (+105) and Under (-145).

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Posted: 6/11/10 3:19PM ET

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