UFC 99 Review: Franklin wins decision over Silva

UFC 99 came to us all live from the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany for the very first time. Despite the fact that everyone seemed focused on the future UFC 100 card coming in, there was still some serious firepower for the German fans to check out.

First, there was the main event between former superstar PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva and former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. Then there was the highly intriguing bout between Cheick Kongo and up and coming superstar Cain Velasquez. Beyond that, you had a bad blood match between Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's return to the UFC.

Maybe people shouldn't have been so focused on UFC 100 coming in after all.

"I'm gonna knock him out," said Marcus Davis coming into his fight with Dan Hardy. Hardy, of course, had basically referred to Davis as a "fake Irishman," perhaps prompting those words. But words are words and fighting is fighting, no?

Early on, both fighters were somewhat inactive. After a couple of leg kicks, Davis hit home with a body kick and then shot in for a takedown. Davis pressed Hardy up against the cage. After some trading inside, Davis did eventually get Hardy to the ground where he began to pound away, taking the mount momentarily. Hardy got off of his back but ended up with Davis on top of him in a turtle position, raining down punches. Eventually, Hardy got to his feet, connecting with a huge elbow on Davis that hurt him after a couple of body blows. Davis took Hardy down while in the clinch, but the two got right back to their feet. Davis is cut on his head.

Then the bell. Marcus Davis won more of that round and probably took it. But Davis was hurt for a moment.

The second round started with both fighters trading kicks, with Hardy connecting more. From there, Davis began connecting with left hands in spots, even though Hardy was connecting as well. Then Hardy nailed Davis with a huge knee that dropped him. From there, Hardy found himself on top looking to ground and pound his adversary. But then Davis transitioned to a solid armbar attempt. Hardy escaped. Both fighters started connecting with strikes on the ground, with Davis actually hitting home more until the referee decided to stand them up (not sure why, there was a significant amount of striking going on). Davis connected with a huge left hand that caused Hardy to smile, indicating that it hurt, before coming in and gaining a takedown. Then Davis moved to side control. Some mild ground and pound followed before the bell.

Give Davis the first round. Give Hardy the second round (though both stanzas were close). The third round should probably decide things.

Davis connected with a nice left; Hardy slipped to the canvas. Davis followed him to the ground where he began connecting with some mild ground and pound. He moved to Hardy's half guard. Then Davis went for a toe hold and then a heel hook on Hardy. Neither move worked, and Hardy got to his feet. They remained in the clinch along the wall before Hardy managed a takedown himself. Hardy nailed Davis with a huge elbow that bloodied him up big time. From there, the referee stopped things for a moment for the doctor to look at the cut before putting them back in the same situation. Due to a lack of action, the referee then stood them up.

Davis landed a nice left hand; at the same time, Hardy connected with a kick. Then the fight ended.

That was a close fight. Davis controlled the fight more; but Hardy hurt him. Hardy is probably going to take this one home.

Dan Hardy wins via split decision. Afterwards, he noted that the psychological games he played before this fight were just that, games.

Next up was a highly intriguing match up between Caol Uno and Spencer Fisher. Would Fisher's strength and wrestling advantage make Uno's submission skills an afterthought? Let's see.

Uno shot in early, but Fisher sprawled out of trouble. Some knees to the shoulder on the ground followed from Fisher before the two came to their feet along the wall. Fisher landed some knees again before they eventually broke. Fisher then landed a couple of nice strikes before he was forced to sprawl out of trouble once more. Uno pressed his opponent up against the fence but was unable to do anything with the position. Then came the bell. Not a lot of activity in this one. But Spencer Fisher clearly took the opening stanza.

Early in the second, Fisher landed a low kick and came in looking to land a punch. Uno dropped under it and took him down. Fisher got up, however, and started with the knees in the clinch again before the two separated. Later, Uno shot in and missed with another takedown. Fisher connected with an excellent low kick. Then Uno connected with two straight of his own before missing with another takedown. Fisher ended up on top on the ground, but Uno turned him over, ending up in Fisher's guard. Fisher grabbed Uno's ankles, sent him backwards, and managed to get to his feet. Lots of changing positions, and movement before the bell. Hard to call this round- not a lot of exciting action.

Uno shot in looking for a takedown early in the third, but Fisher sprawled out. Fisher connected with some knees and then a big left hand. Uno took him down; then Fisher got back up. Uno connected with a knee. Uno then landed a low kick upon separation but fell afterwards. Fisher let him back up and connected with a good right hook. Fisher found himself on the ground and then back up, connecting with the better shots. Then Uno ended up on top in the mount, transitioning between there and half guard. Some serious ground and pound followed. Then the bell.

Uno won the last round due to what he did at the end of the stanza. Did he win the second round? That's the question.

Answer- no. Spencer Fisher wins via decision.

"He hasn't fought any of the top tier fighters yet," said Mike Swick coming into his bout against Ben Saunders. "And it's a whole nother story when you step in there with guys that are at that level. . . I think Ben Saunders is in over his head in this fight."

Enough said. Let's get it on.

Early on, Henderson went for a takedown but ended up on the bottom for his efforts. Henderson simply held on tightly, looking for nothing but to survive for a significant period of time. Swick connected with mild shots to the side of his head during this time. It even got to the point where Swick asked him if he was going to hold him all night. To which Henderson noted that he thought they could stand back up.

Not exact words. But close enough. Great job by the UFC of catching that while the fight was going on.

Eventually, the referee stood the two of them up. Swick hit home with a decent flurry after Henderson connected with a nice body kick. The two clinched and Saunders connected with some decent knees. Still, the fact that Henderson decided to simply hold on when he hit the canvas should give Swick the round (there at least was some ground and pound).

Early on in the second, Swick landed a punch and then a knee. Once they clinched, Saunders began connecting with knees. However, Swick took him down and immediately mounted him. Then Saunders got back to guard rather quickly. Swick connected with some mild ground and pound; this time Saunders employed the rubber guard to an extent. Then the referee stood them back up.

The two traded knees. Later, Swick landed a decent knee of his own. Then came an excellent left hand from Swick followed by a huge flurry by Swick that dropped Saunders; he followed him down to the canvas with a those patented fast strikes of his. And that was that.

Mike Swick wins via TKO at 3:48 of round two.

Next up was the highly anticipated return to the UFC by Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. Taking on Mustapha Al Turk, Cro Cop said, "I don't know if I'm going to take the UFC belt, I don't know. But I will die trying."

Got to love hearing that. Let's see how it went for the former PRIDE star.

Early on, Al Turk connected with a nice right hand and then a leg kick. Then Al Turk attempted a takedown and was thrown to the side like he wasn't even there. Al Turk was connecting with low kicks and coming forward rather wildly. Cro Cop landed a straight left and then threw another takedown to the side. Cro Cop landed a mild left. Al Turk is just coming forward with wild punches. Eventually, Cro Cop came forward like we've seen him do in the past, with a flurry that dropped Al Turk. Rather than follow him to the canvas, Cro Cop let him back up and then proceeded to land a left that poked Al Turk in the eye. The referee didn't see it, and Cro Cop finished him off. Too bad on the eye thing. Still, Cro Cop had already hurt him and it was looking like he was going to end this one anyway.

Too bad for the ending. Still, it was nice seeing Cro Cop come forward looking for the kill.

Coming into his fight against Cain Velasquez, Cheick Kongo said, "I'm ready to win again, just to get the opportunity to be the new champion. It's now or never." That said, a lot of people believed that Velasquez was the best up and coming heavyweight in the world coming in. So would Kongo be able to make this into a striking match that he was capable of winning, or would Velasquez turn this one into a ground fight?

Early on, Kongo found himself backpedalling, hitting home with punches. Then a hard right hand of his hurt Velasquez, dropping him for a mere moment before he got to his feet and took Kongo down. However, Kongo got up for a moment before Velasquez reasserted his takedown, this time taking side control. Then Velasquez mounted Kongo. Then he took the big man's back, looking for the rear naked choke. Kongo got to his feet, but was taken down right into side mount again. He then began with the ground and pound before mounting once more. Then Velasquez took his back again. After some movement, Velasquez found himself nailing his turtled up adversary with big punches. Kongo got up again, but Velasquez picked him up and slammed him into the canvas once more.

This guy Velasquez looks like a killer right now. That said, you have to give it to Kongo. He keeps working and trying. Along with this, just before the bell, Kongo got to his feet and landed a nice knee inside.

Don't need to tell you who won that round.

Velasquez came forward and connected with some nice punches, but Kongo dropped him with a big punch again to start the second. This time, Kongo followed him down and ended up in a clinch with him on the cage. Kongo should separate, but instead is looking for knees. Then Velasquez grabbed his leg and took him down. On the back of his opponent (on all fours), Velasquez hit home with ground and pound and eventually mounted Kongo. Then he ended up taking his back again. Lots of ground and pound as positions continually changed. Again, though, Kongo made it to the bell. He's a tough guy.

But he needs a stoppage in order to win.

Early on, Kongo landed some punches and actually took Velasquez down. But then Velasquez reversed him. From there, it was more of the same until just past the halfway mark when Kongo got up and began connecting with knees. Then he hit home with a nice punch.

Unfortunately for Kongo, Velasquez took him down again. Then came some more of what we were used to seeing until the bell.

Cheick Kongo has a big heart. Cain Velasquez dominated but just couldn't finish him off.

Cain Velasquez wins via unanimous decision.

"He's afraid, he knows the power in my hands," said former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva coming into his UFC main event bout against Rich Franklin. There's no doubt that Franklin was quite aware of his power. That said, to look past Franklin's power in the past has proven to be a bad move. What else is there to say? Someone was about to get hurt, right?

Early on, both fighters were very cautious. Silva landed a low kick. Soon after, he threw a big flurry that missed, allowing Franklin to land a decent punch. Franklin landed a left, then a kick. Silva connected with a punch. A high kick by Silva missed. Then Silva connected with a body kick. Franklin landed an excellent body kick. Then Silva took him down.

That's right, Silva took him down.

Silva landed some decent ground and pound. Then Franklin got to his feet. Silva tried for a standing guillotine and missed on his way to the ground, allowing Ace to start in with the ground and pound from the top position on the canvas. Then he mounted Silva for a moment. Silva got to his feet, but not before eating a lot of shots. Franklin landed a nice head kick. Then the bell.

Rich Franklin wins the first round. In between rounds, he said that he thought he broke Silva's nose.

Silva connected with a solid body kick to start the second. The two traded low kicks. Then Franklin hit home with some kicks and punches; Silva connected with an uppercut. Soon after, Franklin hit home with some nice punches and a body kick. He then connected with a jab that left an off balance Silva on the canvas. Silva got up easily. Until the one minute mark, Franklin picked Silva apart with more of the same until a big right by Silva landed. From there came a flurry of punches by Silva that really hurt Ace. But he survived. Then Franklin connected with a high kick and a bunch of punches at the end of the round. That's a hard stanza to score. Franklin dominated until Silva caught him. Even after that, Franklin did well.

Either Silva needs a stoppage or this is the round that will decide everything. Franklin basically picked Silva apart for the first half of the stanza until a nice left by Silva landed. He followed that up with a knee in the clinch. That said, Franklin began doing his thing again when Silva came forward very aggressively soon afterwards. Franklin took Silva down and connected with some nice punches. Silva got up, allowing Franklin to take his back on their feet. The fight ended with Franklin punching his adversary from this position and Silva making use of elbows. What a great fight! The decision should go to Franklin. But Silva looks a lot better in a lower weight class.

Rich Franklin wins via unanimous decision.

In the end, UFC 99 was a very good night of fights. Cain Velasquez did a great job of dominating a very tough Cheick Kongo. Dan Hardy won a fight with a lot of bad blood coming in over Marcus Davis, and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic won his comeback fight in the UFC, even if there was an eye poke. In the end, though, as it always should be, this event was about the main event. Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin fought like warriors.


FULL RESULTS:

  1. John Hathaway def. Ricky Story via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  2. Stefan Struve def. Denis Stojnic via submission (RNC) - R2 (2:37)
  3. Paul Kelly def. Roli Delgado via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  4. Paul Taylor def. Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision
  5. Dennis Siver def. Dale Hartt via submission (RNC) - R1 (3:23)
  6. Terry Etim def. Justin Buchholz via submission (D'arce choke) - R2
  7. Dan Hardy def. Marcus Davis via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
  8. Spencer Fisher def. Caol Uno via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  9. Mike Swick def. Ben Saunders via TKO (punches) - R2 (3:47)
  10. Mirko Cro Cop def. Mostafa Al Turk via TKO (punches) - R1 (3:06)
  11. Cain Velasquez def. Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  12. Rich Franklin def. Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

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