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UFC 72 Live Blog: Rich Franklin vs. Yushin Okami and More

This is the UFC 72 live blog, where we're giving round-by-round updates and analysis of the five fights on today's UFC 72 main card. The fights have begun and the updates are coming fast and furious after the jump, so you'll want to refresh this page often.

The results of the preliminary bouts are below. The middleweight fight between Scott Smith and Ed Herman has moved to the main card.

Preliminary bouts:
Welterweights: Dustin Hazelett defeated Stevie Lynch on a first-round submission.
Heavyweights: Eddie Sanchez defeated Colin Robinson by TKO in the second round.
Welterweights: Marcus Davis defeated Jason Tan by TKO in the first round.

Round-by-round updates on the main card after the jump.

Main card bouts:
Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith vs. Ed "Short Fuse" Herman, middleweights
Herman entered the ring to the tune of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." That doesn't exactly exude toughness.

Round 1: Herman took Smith down just seconds into the fight for a little ground and pound action. Smith got back up, but Herman landed some knees and bloodied Smith's face. Then an elbow from Herman sent blood pouring all over Smith's face, and the referee asked the doctor to check the cut. The doctor said Smith could keep going, and there's one difference between UFC and boxing -- there's no way a fighter with a cut this bad would be allowed to keep fighting in boxing. Smith had an outstanding reversal on the ground to get Herman in a leg lock, but Herman survived, and Herman wins the first round, 10-9.

Round 2: Smith's cut man did an outstanding job of cleaning up his face between rounds. He looks good as new. Smith takes Herman down and gets him in a choke, but Herman breaks free. Then Herman reverses, clamps down with a rear-naked choke, and Smith taps. Herman wins by submission. The best fight of Herman's career.

Tyson Griffin vs. Clay "The Carpenter" Guida, lightweights:
Tyson Griffin enters the ring to "Eye of the Tiger." How original.
Round 1: For the first 40 seconds, neither man did much, and a smattering of boos were heard. But then the engaged, and Griffin applied a choke. Guida looked like he was about to tap, but he broke free. The first four minutes of the round were mostly a wrestling match, with few strikes or kicks, although Griffin landed some nice punches late. Griffin wins the first round, 10-9.

Round 2: Guida went on the offensive early. It's been a fight, as both announcers have noted, that has included a little bit of everything: Boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, you name it. Guida had Griffin in a knee bar, but Griffin got out of it. It hasn't been an action-packed round, but it's been a well fought one. Guida landed so many quick punches at one point that it almost looked like he was tapping. A very close round, which I'll call 10-9 for Guida.

Round 3: Guida's hair keeps getting in his face. I can't imagine why any MMA fighter doesn't shave his head. It is, again, a round with a little of everything. They're on the ground and Griffin initially seemed to have the advantage, but Guida did a great job of reversing it. Griffin landed a couple of very hard elbows from the bottom. With just a minute to go, they've been on the ground for almost the entire third round. Guida has had the advantage for most of it. Time runs out with a last flurry for Guida, and I'll give him the round and the fight. We'll see what the judges say.
Two of the three judges disagree with me: Tyson Griffin wins by split decision. This was a close one, and most of the crowd seems to disagree with the judges' decision. I'd like to see a rematch.

Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald vs. Rory "Outburst" Singer, middleweights:
Round 1: MacDonald gets things started with an inside leg kick. He wants to get the fight to the ground. They stood against the cage and fighting in close contact for most of the first two minutes, and then they went to the ground. Singer landed some excellent up-kicks from the ground with MacDonald standing over him. Singer mounted MacDonald and landed a couple strikes. MacDonald is bleeding from the head. I'll call this round 10-9 for Singer.

Round 2: They go to the ground early with MacDonald on top, but neither man has much of an advantage. The crowd is starting to boo, as they've mostly been jockeying for position on the ground and not doing anything exciting. MacDonald mounted and landed a series of strikes, and Singer is in trouble. And the ref decides there's no way for Singer to get out and stops it. MacDonald wins by TKO.

Hector "Sick Dog" Ramirez vs. Forrest Griffin, light heavyweights:
Round 1: The fighters are in the ring, and the crowd is overwhelmingly supporting Griffin. They go to the ground early, with Ramirez on top, and just as quickly they're back up. Griffin has a solid high kick, but Ramirez was ready for it and mostly blocked it. Griffin has landed a few leg kicks. Ramirez has landed a couple of good left hands. Griffin is cut under the eye. Ramirez has missed with a couple of wild swings. The crowd is really getting into it in support of Griffin, who continues to kick, then lands a right hand. It was a close, well-fought first round, and I'll give it to Griffin, 10-9, based on the kicks he landed.

Round 2: In the first minute there's an exchange of strikes but nothing too wild. Griffin lands a pair of solid kicks two minutes into the round. Griffin gets his best combination of the night with a few strikes as Ramirez is against the cage. Ramirez wants to get to the ground, but he's not having any success getting inside on Griffin. Ramirez is in trouble as Griffin lands some punches, but then Griffin lands a knee to the groin, and the referee steps in to give Ramirez time to recover. Ramirez takes a couple minutes and then says he's ready. Ramirez almost caught Griffin's leg on a kick, but Griffin pulled away. The announcers agree that this is the most they've seen Griffin use leg kicks in his career. Griffin clearly won the round.

Round 3: How effective have Griffin's leg kicks been? Between rounds, Ramirez told his corner, "I can't feel my leg." Ramirez gets aggressive and gets Griffin down on the ground, but Griffin gets back up. The announcers are referring to the Odyssey as "sold out." Really? Griffin continues to land kicks. As the fight winds down Griffin landed more strikes, and Ramirez didn't do much of anything. Griffin won the round and, unless the judges are nuts, won the fight. Griffin wins by unanimous decision.

Rich "Ace" Franklin vs. Yushin Okami, middleweights:
As they enter the ring, it's clear that Okami is in outstanding shape. In a classy move, Franklin bowed to Okami as they touched gloves before the fight.

Round 1: Both fighters are lefties, which is interesting as they feel each other out in a boxer's stance. Okami just missed with a high kick. In the early going they're both avoiding engaging each other. Okami landed a right hand as Franklin tried to get inside. With two minutes to go in the round, they're clinching against the cage. The crowd is starting to get restless as there hasn't been much action, and yet it's still been an intriguing fight because you can see both fighters' strategies. An uneventful round, and tough to score, but I'll call it 10-9 Okami.

Round 2: At the start of the round Franklin wanted to unleash a kick but thought better of it as Okami looked ready. Now the crowd is really getting restless, as there still hasn't been much action. Franklin connected with a head kick, but he didn't land it cleanly. The fight hasn't been on the ground at all, which clearly plays to Franklin's strengths over Okami's. With the fight more than half over, the Irish fans are booing because they haven't seen enough action. Franklin landed a right hand that was the best strike of the night, but that's not saying much. Franklin lands a nice 1-2 at the end, and he clearly won the round, but he may have hurt his hand at the end.

Round 3: Franklin's corner is telling him he's winning and not to get greedy. Okami tried to land a flying knee at the start of the round, but Franklin avoided it. Franklin landed a solid left to the ribs. Okami is trying to turn this into a wrestling match, and he gets Franklin down. Okami has mounted Franklin and clearly has control, but Franklin is doing a nice job of keeping Okami from doing anything. Okami looked like he was about to win the fight with a guillotine, but Franklin did a great job of getting out of it. Okami has a great arm lock on Franklin and is trying to get him to tap, but Franklin escapes. An outstanding ending for Franklin. I would give the third round, and the fight, to Okami, but all three TV announcers think Franklin won. The judges will give their verdict in a moment. And the judges disagreed with me on the first round, all three scoring it 29-28 for Franklin.

Franklin wins by unanimous decision.

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