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Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin - UFC 77: Ace and The Spider Meet Again

By Robert Rousseau, ExtremeProSports.com
After Rich "Ace" Franklin took on Anderson "The Spider" Silva back on October 14, 2006, he left the fight muttering the following:

"I was not expecting him to be that strong in the clinch. I expected it to be my sweet spot (the clinch) and it gave me a lot of trouble."

Now, after two straight victories by the former UFC Middleweight Champion, Ace is back looking to take back his belt from a man that has won five straight via stoppage at UFC 77: Hostile Territory on August 26th.

Well, here's the good news for Franklin. This fight will take place at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. In other words, his hometown. The extra oomph he'll receive from all the fans cheering for him may be just what the doctor ordered. Then again, the fans aren't the ones that are going to have to take on the best middleweight striker in MMA.

It's Franklin that's going to have to do that.

Silva is a long middleweight with ultra fast hands and feet, awesome power, ridiculous technical striking skills, and very good jiu-jitsu. That said, past performances would appear to indicate that there is a chance that he can be dealt with by an elite grappler on the ground; in other words, someone that can take him down, control him, and stay out of submissions.

Unfortunately for Franklin, none of that is going to be an easy task. Besides Silva's submission skills, he's also quite adept at steering clear of trouble on the ground and delivering potential fight ending blows there.

Still, Franklin must get this fight to the canvas if he is going to have anything more than a puncher's chance at winning (something he didn't realize coming into his last encounter with Silva). Is he capable? Yes, because he has strong and somewhat underrated takedown and ground control skills. However, once he's down there- if he gets down there- steering clear of submissions from a man with legs long enough to put a body triangle on his opponents from almost every position isn't going easy. And if he gets nailed even once it could be lights out.

So, Franklin is definitely up against it in this rematch. However, as long as he realizes that he shouldn't be standing with a fighter like Silva- something that's probably pretty hard for a guy with 11 (T)KO's in his career to stomach- he's got a chance. After all, he's got the grappling pedigree, takedowns, brute strength, and cardio to do it.

Then again, Silva's got the striking and submission skills to thwart him.

Looking forward to Cincinnati in August.

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