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Rich Franklin Gets Call to Face Wanderlei Silva In UFC 147 Main Event

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Zuffa, LLC via Getty Images
Zuffa, LLC via Getty Images
Getty Images

UFC 147 has its main event, and the promotion has called upon one of its most loyal employees to make it happen.

Rich Franklin has accepted the challenge to fight Wanderlei Silva on short notice, the promotion confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.

The fight, still scheduled as a five-rounder, will be contested at a 190-pound catch weight.

Franklin is replacing Vitor Belfort, who broke his hand in training last week.

The bout will be a rematch of the UFC 99 main event, which Franklin won via unanimous decision. It marks Franklin's return to action after 16 months off from the octagon.

His last two fights have both come as a light-heavyweight. His most recent was at UFC 126 in Feb. 2011, when he lost to Forrest Griffin by unanimous decision. Prior to that, he knocked out Chuck Liddell at UFC 115.

Franklin had been scheduled to fight at UFC 133 last August but was pulled from the card after an injury to his scheduled opponent, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Not long after, Franklin had shoulder surgery that his kept him out of action since. He had been expected to return in the summer against Cung Le at UFC 148.

He'll have just over three weeks to prepare for Silva at the June 23 event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil's Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drumond. Few other matches have been announced for the event, which will host the finals of the Brazilian edition of TUF.

In one, heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum will take on Mike Russow as the show's co-main event. Another will pit featherweights Yuri Alcantara and Hacran Dias.