Rich Franklin earned one of the most significant wins of his MMA career Saturday, beating Wanderlei Silva in a hard-fought decision in the main event at UFC 99.
The fight was a three-round battle in which Franklin took the upper hand early and was able to hold on late. Franklin landed several hard strikes to Silva's face in the first round, and after the first he could be heard telling his corner, "I think I broke his nose."
In the second round Franklin continued to pour it on, and he looked like he should have an easy time winning the fight. But in the third round Silva started to look like the Silva of old, attacking Franklin with his typical hard-charging approach. But that wasn't enough to finish the fight, and Franklin won on all three judges' cards.
Despite the loss, Silva said afterward that he felt good and that he was happy to have been a part of the first UFC event in Germany.
"I'm feeling very well, and this event was amazing," Silva said. "This is the best event in the world."
Franklin improved his professional MMA record to 25-4. Silva falls to 32-10-1.
In the co-main event, heavyweight Cain Velasquez, an undefeated former Arizona State wrestler, had by far the biggest win of his MMA career in defeating Cheick Kongo by unanimous decision. Velasquez absorbed some very hard punches from Kongo and overpowered him on the ground, improving to 6-0.
Mirko Cro Cop also returned to the Octagon Saturday, beating Mostapha Al-Turk by first-round TKO. Cro Cop looked strong, but his victory was somewhat tainted by an accidental poke to Al-Turk's eye that the referee didn't see.
Full UFC 99 results are below:
John Hathaway beat Rick Story by unanimous decision
Stefan Struve beat Denis Stojnic by second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Paul Kelly beat Roli Delgado by unanimous decision
Paul Taylor beat Peter Sobotta by unanimous decision
Denis Siver beat Dale Hartt by first-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Terry Etim beat Justin Buchholz by second-round submission (D'arce)
Dan Hardy beat Marcus Davis by split decision (live blog)
Spencer Fisher beat Caol Uno by unanimous decision (live blog)
Mike Swick beat Ben Saunders by second-round TKO (strikes) (live blog)
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic beat Mostapha al Turk by first-round TKO (live blog)
Cain Velasquez beat Cheick Kongo by unanimous decision (live blog)