The Irish are in for a treat as they'll get to see a championship caliber fighter in Rich Franklin take on Martin Kampmann, probably for the right to fight the winner of the Nathan Marquardt - Anderson Silva bout for the UFC Middleweight Championship (especially if Franklin wins). So let's get right to it.
Rich Franklin vs. Martin Kampmann at UFC 72
Rich Franklin owns an overall MMA record of 21-2 with 11 (T)KO's and nine submission victories to his credit. In short, he's got better than average technical striking skills, excellent power on his feet, some of the best cardio in mixed martial arts, and underrated submission / wrestling skills (Franklin is well above average in that regard as well).
In terms of weaknesses, people seem to feel that he doesn't have a good chin. However, the knock may be somewhat unjustified. After all, he's fought through being hurt before against the likes of Evan Tanner and David Loiseau before. That said, Franklin certainly doesn't have a Kazuyuki Fujita chin.
In addition, Franklin is known for his outstanding training techniques and preparation (a good thing). However, against Anderson Silva he looked as if he'd never been in a Muay Thai clinch before. Thus, you have to wonder about his ability to deal in the Octagon when his preparation fails him. After the loss against Silva, Franklin indicated that he thought the clinch would be his "sweet spot." Did this fight say something about his ability to adapt on the fly? Does he have difficulty adjusting a game plan?
Or is all of this just reading into things a little too much?
Kampmann is a highly underrated fighter with an overall MMA record of 15-2. Along with this, he has six submission victories and six (T)KO's to his credit. Further, this is a guy that has won his last eight, including three in a row in the UFC.
Here are the facts: Kampmann has well-rounded skills. In other words, he can submit you- check out his recent submission victories over Andrew McFedries and Crafton Wallace- or knock you out. In short, the question isn't really whether he can fight wherever a fight goes; the question is, at what level can he do it?
Also, Kampmann has some nice kickboxing skills, and that's what did Franklin in against Anderson Silva.
In the end, Franklin is still one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet. He is a rare fighter with outstanding ground and stand up skills. But does Kampmann have the stuff- like Anderson Silva before him- to do Franklin in?
Tune in to UFC 72 to find out.
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