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UFC 99 PITS RICH FRANKLIN VS WANDERLEI SILVA
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - by Ken Pishna and Damon Martin - MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to make its German debut on June 13 at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne. While several fights have been rumored for the event over the past couple of months, most have not come to fruition.
MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday, however, was able to confirm through multiple independent sources that former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin and former Pride 205-pound champion Wanderlei Silva have agreed to fight each other at UFC 99.
Franklin has fought his last two bouts at light heavyweight, returning to the division after running into a brick wall named Anderson Silva at middleweight. Even though Wanderlei Silva's fights in the UFC have all been at 205-pounds to this point, he has made public his intention of wanting to move down to the 185-pound division.
"I talk with (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and... say no problem, I'm down for 185? He say, no problem," Silva said in a recent interview with MMAWeekly.com, but adding, "I could fight in both divisions; I could fight 185 and 205."
It appears that he may not fight at either weight come June 13. Though it is too soon for bout agreements, sources have indicated that Franklin and Silva have agreed to face each other at a catch weight somewhere in the neighborhood of 195 pounds.
With both fighters coming off of losses – Franklin to Dan Henderson and Silva to Quinton Jackson, each in the 205-pound division – a catch weight fight doesn't really damage either's hopes for a title shot, as each would likely have to win a couple of fights before being considered a contender again.
A catch weight fight is a logical step for Silva to make his transition to the middleweight division a little easier. Walking around at about 208 pounds, he's never really had to deal much with weight cutting in the past, but will obviously have to in order to compete at middleweight.
The UFC has not officially confirmed any bouts yet for Germany, and it is not yet known whether Franklin and Silva will headline the UFC 99 fight card. Considering each fighter's stature in the MMA world, their bout would likely be at least a co-main event.
The only other independently confirmed bout for UFC 99 at this point is a lightweight contest between Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno.
I think this a great match-up and interesting with the catchweight.