There is no real mystery in terms of how this fight is going to go down. It's going to be a stand up war point blank period. You've already heard Wanderlei say the fight is going to have one of three outcomes. He's going to get knocked out, Franklin's going to get knocked out, or it's going to be a war.
Therefore, this fight is going to come down to two things: Who has the better chin, and will Wanderlei's power trump Franklin's technique?
Wanderlei has mentioned that he's gone back to the basics for this fight, but how many times have we heard fighters say that? I'm a huge Wanderlei fan, but I question what changes he can make to his game at this stage of his career. I mean we saw what happened to Chuck Liddell after he went back to the basics for UFC 97. It's difficult to change those old habits in just a couple of months. The reason being, to change those bad habits, you not only have to do those drills repetitiously. You have to do those drills repetitiously the right way. Silva is a natural born fighter, basically meaning that once the bell rings and he gets hit once or twice, his instincts will take over. At that point, either he's going to hit you with devastating strikes, or you are going to hit him.
Lately everyone has been talking about Silva's chin or lack thereof, but we must remember that the guys that have KO'ed him in the past 2 years or so have devastating knockout power. Franklin has power, but it's usually an accumulation of shots that eventually take his opponents out, with Nate Quarry being the exception at UFC 56. Then again, it's proven that once you get knocked out a couple of times you become more susceptible to it. Franklin is definitely the more technical of the two when it comes to striking, but he'll be facing one of the best finishers in the game against Wanderlei Silva. It's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Silva can hurt Franklin with a punch or two and pounce on him the same way he did Keith Jardine. Let's not forget that Silva has a very good clinch game that he hasn't really utilized since coming to the UFC. It could make an appearance in this one at some point. We saw how effective Anderson Silva used the clinch against Rich Franklin on both occasions.
The reach advantage coupled with better technique should give him a definitive edge standing. Franklin is much better at laying out a game plan and sticking to it as well. I wouldn't count the "Ax Murderer" out of this one just yet. But if Franklin can avoid the clinch and getting tagged with power shots, it should be his fight to win.
Who you taking?