By Chris Steinberger
In an intriguing match up at UFC 126, former Light Heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin takes on former middleweight champion Rich "Ace" Franklin. Franklin’s recent move to light heavyweight makes an already stacked division even deeper.
When studying these fighters you see that their fighting styles are very similar. Both Griffin and Franklin like to stand with opponents using an array of attacks including punches, kicks as well as utilizing the clinch. The difference is the way they utilize them. Franklin has five times as many knockouts with fifteen. He has a clear advantage in this category and has a much better chance of ending the fight in KO fashion. Forrest wants to mix up his skills and make it a long grueling fight. He wants to wear out his opponent and take advantage of him through any means necessary.
Forrest enters the ring after his absence of over a year and will need some time to get up to speed, especially against an excellent and well rounded guy like Franklin. Each has an extremely underrated ground game with neither being submitted in their long careers. At the same time Franklin has ten submissions and Forrest seven. Franklins ten submissions are only one less than Anderson Silva (5) and BJ Penn (6) combined. Half of them are by armbar (4) and kimura (1), while over half of Forrest’s are by rear naked choke (4).
In essence both are tough well-rounded boxers with an above average level of jiu jitsu. This fight more than likely stays standing. Although if one gains an advantage in the striking early we could see takedown attempts late. My guess is that it will be Franklin who gets up early and Forrest who starts shooting late.
Franklin should and will out class Forrest standing rather easily. Forrest is a tough fighter though and should battle through a stoppage, but Franklin’s experience against a high-level competition will shine through. While clearlyGriffin is someone who cannot be completely counted out, with my money I’d take Rich Franklin.
Pick- Franklin (-170) via Decision
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