The UFC has planned their first event in China, with Rich Franklin and Cung Le expected to headline a card in November. Which middleweight will be able to maintain his dwindling relevance as the two fighters approach the final stage of their storied careers?
UFC heads to China with upcoming Fuel TV Card
The UFC‘s ongoing expansion across the globe continues on November 10th when the promotion touches down in Macau, China.
Though still unofficial, a previously scheduled bout between Rich Franklin and Cung Le has been rumored to headline the card. With both fighters picking up recent victories, the two 40-year-old middleweights are being given one last chance at cracking the top ten of their division.
In fact, Anderson Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, recently mentioned Franklin as a preferred opponent for the champion. The winner of this match would instantly elevate themselves into the title picture while the loser would be forced to only further contemplate retirement.
Based on their previous betting line, which was released before Franklin replaced Vitor Belfort at UFC 147, we can again expect Rich to come in as a -300 or higher betting favorite. Neither fighter’s recent performance was impressive enough to elevate their stock to the point where the line would shift more than 10 to 20 cents in either direction.
And in a bantamweight clash that’s already been signed for the maincard, UFC newcomer Kyung Ho Kang will be taking on the flashy offense of Alex Caceres.
Training with Busan Team M.A.D., the native Korean has been linked to UFC welterweight Dong Hyun Kim and brings a wealth of hype into the match up.
Judging from his 11 victories, he’s an aggressive fighter who constantly looks for the finish. Over the last 5 years, he’s amassed an 11-6 record consisting of 8 submissions and 2 knockouts. Win or lose, UFC fans are in for a treat as we get to watch these two high-paced bantamweights look to solidify their individual status as a growing prospect.
Travis Browne pulled from UFC 151 to headline UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis
An injury to Ben Rothwell left the UFC scrambling for a late replacement willing to face off against Travis Browne at UFC 151.
Despite rumors of Browne facing former Strikeforce Heavyweight Devin Cole, the UFC instead elected to place him in the main event at UFC on FX 5 against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva on Oct. 5th.
This is a unique opportunity for Browne, as he not only gets his first chance to headline a card but also showcases himself as a legitimate contender to Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. For a division in desperate need of new challengers, Travis would be a welcome addition to the top of the rankings.
His opponent, Antonio Silva, recently made his debut over from Strikeforce at UFC 146 against Cain Velasquez. It was an unfortunate debut that witnessed the Brazilian get taken down in the opening minute and split open with an elbow.
In Silva’s defense, the first cut that Cain opened up between his eyes left Antonio severely impaired for the remainder of the match. From that point on, he was forced to blindly defend strikes from one of the sport’s most relentless ground and pound fighters.
I consider this a slight step up form Rothwell as Silva arguably represents Brown’s stiffest test since fighting Cheick Kongo to a draw in 2010. We finally get to see what Brown has against an equally skilled and coordinated heavyweight as himself.
However, Silva’s issues in the past with quicker heavyweights have been well documented. Guys like Mike Kyle and Daniel Cormier were able to rock Antonio early on in their fights, which is why I think the UFC is expecting a similar result in hopes of building Browne as a legitimate contender in the near future