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UFC 72: Rich Franklin Beats Yushin Okami

Rich Franklin defeated Yushin Okami by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 72 Saturday in Belfast, Northern Ireland, making Franklin the top contender in the UFC middleweight division and setting him up for a title shot in his next fight.

Franklin has already been guaranteed a title fight against the current champion, Anderson Silva, assuming Silva wins at UFC 73 against Nathan Marquardt. If Marquardt beats Silva at UFC 73, Franklin will likely fight fight Marquardt. Franklin held the UFC middleweight title from June of 2005 until he lost it to Silva in October of 2006.

The main event got off to a slow start that had the crowd getting restless, but it had a thrilling finish, as Okami locked Franklin in an arm hold that looked like it was sure to force a submission. But Franklin powered his way out of the hold, and managed to hang on until time expired. Franklin won the fight 29-28 on all three judges' scorecards.

In the undercard, the Irish-American fighter Forrest Griffin drew huge cheers from the Irish crowd at The Odyssey Arena, winning a dominant unanimous decision over Hector Ramirez. Griffin, who won the first season of the reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, has a reputation as a fan favorite, and nothing that happened Saturday changes that.

The most exciting fight on the undercard was an action-packed bout between middleweights Ed Herman and Scott Smith, which Herman won by submission. UFC had originally planned to keep the Herman-Smith fight off the pay-per-view telecast, but wisely reconsidered when fans complained.

Full results:
Middleweights: Rich Franklin defeated Yushin Okami by unanimous decision.
Light heavyweights: Forrest Griffin defeated Hector Ramirez by unanimous decision.
Middleweights: Jason MacDonald defeated Rory Singer by TKO.
Lightweights: Tyson Griffin defeated Clay Guida by split decision.
Middleweights: Ed Herman defeated Scott Smith by submission.
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.

Previously at FanHouse:
UFC 72 Live Blog
UFC 72 Having Trouble Filling Seats in Ireland
UFC 72: Preview and Predictions
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