MMA, particularly the kind marketed under the UFC banner, suffers from a wide information gap, making it an easy target for media and politicians. German press and authorities included.
"I think the thing that was probably most surprising was the lack or research, as it were, that some of the media and politicians were willing to do before they came out with opinions on this,"
Let's not forget that MMA, as far as I can tell, is the only sport with the illustrious distinction of being regularly covered by
It may not be until sometime in 2011 when the same can be said of UFC's efforts on the Continent, but the expectation is for Germany to act as a hub from which UFC-branded MMA will continue to gain exposure and introduce audiences to the sport. Next up, France. Then who knows. The moon or Mars, probably.
In the evening's main event, despite the ignorant outcry signaling the end of civilization, UFC put together a showcase featuring one of the sport's most vicious competitors,
Stateside pay-per-view commercials for UFC 99 told us this rare 195-pound catchweight main event is a "true fight fan's dream match." I'm not sure I buy that -- and don't feel as if you're failing to live up to your fight fan oath by residing in the same camp.
Silva (32-9-1) and Franklin (24-4) dominated their respective divisions several years ago, and even then I don't recall many people talking up a fight between the pair.
Still, with Silva, 32, making a move from light heavyweight to middleweight, and Franklin doing the reverse, a fight splitting the divisions seems entirely appropriate.
As the veterans head into yet another battle, Franklin seems to have more left than his Brazilian counterpart. Silva has yet again talked about revamping his training, and he'll be as light as he was during the days of no-rule, bare-knuckle wars in Brazil. A drop in weight so late in a pro's career comes generally as a last-ditch effort to find success again. Silva, a brute who's largely ignored the ravages his style inflicts on him and his opponents, would certainly qualify for that group, though every great fighter has one great fight left in them, and this could be the one.
Franklin just misses on a left counter to a low kick. He's looking to catch Silva with a counter.
First kick to the body by Franklin. Standing southpaw really opens up the body on right-handed fighters.
A solid exchange ends with Franklin going to the body with his leg again. This time, Silva is ready, catches the limb, and throws the former high school math teacher to the canvas.
Franklin's always had a tricky guard. He loves the armbar, and can even work a triangle here. Silva's keeping active, though, moving his hips as he tries to land a heavy shot. A quick scramble from "Ace" lets him reverse position when Silva made the odd choice of pulling guard for a guillotine. Franklin's on top now, landing shots to a now bleeding Brazilian. They stand and the last 10 seconds of the round sees Silva wade in with his head down as Franklin lands lefts.
A lunging overhand right from Silva nearly clips Franklin on the chin. He's fine enough to exchange in the center and end the sequence with another body kick.
Two minutes remain in the second round and Franklin seems to be picking up the pace as Silva appears to be leaking hydraulic fluid. His movements are labored and choppy. You expect everything to come with power, but it's telegraphed power. As I type this Silva lands a heavy combination. "The Axe Murderer" is coming forward now. Unadulterated aggression. Silva put it to Franklin against the cage, but he's still in the fight.
The last two minutes of this round was a brawl. Each fighter was hurt. Each survived. Each broke the aggression of the other.
Left hook catches Franklin on the jaw. A knee to the head in the clinch from Silva. He's regained momentum and is pressuring with power shots. Movement saved Franklin so far, and the immediate danger appears to have passed.
A tight third round, one that could easily be decided by the final 90 seconds.
Silva has turned into an animal. He drives forward winging wild hooks and uppercuts. Franklin survives, again. As seconds count down, they pair is locked in the clinch, Silva's back to Franklin's. The Brazilian winds backward with elbows as Franklin paws Silva's face with left hands.