The UFC's annual Independence Day card is generally one of the biggest cards of the year, and the UFC announced the first official bout for it today. Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin will make his return to 185 and take on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le at UFC 148. UFC.com shared the news along with the Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard matchup:
UFC 148 on July 7th will feature a middleweight showdown between former champion Rich Franklin and striking standout Cung Le.
Franklin hasn't competed in over a year, when he dropped a decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126. He was expected to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 133, but a late injury to Nogueira forced the bout to be scrapped. Shortly after that, Franklin injured his shoulder and underwent surgery in October. This will be his first middleweight bout in almost four years, with the last being a TKO win over Travis Lutter at UFC 83.
Le signed with the UFC last year after an extended break from fighting due to his acting schedule. He was expected to debut against Vitor Belfort at UFC 139, but an injury changed that to a bout with Wanderlei Silva. He lost the bout via TKO in the second round.