Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson Robbed of Fight of the Night

200px-richfranklin_mediumBy now everyone knows that two fight of the night awards were given out at UFC 93: one was given to Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle, the other to Shogun and Mark Coleman.

The real fight of the night at UFC 93 was Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.  It was a highly skilled and close fight between two of the best fighters in the world.  The first round started off with Henderson dominating, but Rich worked his way back to his feet and came on strong at the end of the round.  I gave the first to Henderson, but barely.

The second round was a tale of two fights.  Rich landed repeated body kicks and jabs as well as a few nice left straights.  He made the mistake of initiating the clinch, and Henderson took him down and smothered him for two minutes.  Henderson did no damage on the ground, and spent most of the time fighting off Rich's attempts at wrist control.  Upon watching it again, I scored this round a draw.

Franklin really came on strong in round 3 as Henderson started to wear down.  He again made the mistake of initiating and clinch, and as a result forfeited any chance to do significant damage.  He still convincingly won the round, and may have been able to do better if not for an eyepoke that slowed his momentum and gave Henderson a chance to recover.

There is no doubt this was the best fight of the card.  It was a classic stylistic battle between two of the sport's greatest fighters.  The idea that joint horrible performances from Shogun and Mark Coleman got the award over this fight is truly a joke.  

Overall, I scored the fight a draw, but can understand scoring it 29-28 for either guy.  I still think the UFC should move for regulatory changes that would allow for 5 round main events if both guys want it.  A five round Franklin-Henderson fight could have turned into a great fight that saved the show.  Instead, it was more like a short preview of what could have been an amazing fight. 

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