On Saturday, UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson went down from across the pond in Dublin, Ireland just three weeks after the stellar UFC 92 which ran up over 1.25 million buys according to reports.
The event showcased a main event featuring Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin with the winner earning the right (or perhaps the unfortunate sentence) to coach alongside, and eventually fight, Michael Bisping on TUF 9. Then there were top fighters like Rousimar Palhares, Shogun, Denis Kang and Martin Kampmann in action as well as a potential fight of the year candidate in Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle.
The event itself was somewhat unspectacular with every fight on the main card going the distance (or close) and a bunch of average to poor performances.
The biggest news coming out of the event is a head scratching main event announcement of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and…. Keith Jardine? on March 7th at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio. Head scratching for those of us who follow MMA closely because according to UFC President Dana White in the past couple of weeks, the next opponent for Rampage was a match-up with new Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
However, it’s apparent that Evans was unwilling to defend his title on such a short turnaround (11 weeks) against such a difficult opponent in Jackson. That left a short list of available challengers for Jackson in the LHW division and a UFC 96 card still in desperate need of a main event. So with Jackson still wanting to fight, the UFC came back with Jardine and the fight was settled. Again, it’s perplexing in many ways (namely Jardine not being good enough recently to warrant a fight with Jackson who is clearly the No. 1 contender after KO’ing Wanderlei Silva so impressively) but I will address that in a later post as the fight gets closer. The good news is we get to see Jackson fight again sooner than most expected.
The other news coming out of the event is a showdown between Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua at UFC 97 in April after Rua emerged from 93 with a TKO stoppage of Mark Coleman in a somewhat lackluster performance. Shogun clearly was out of shape once again in the Octagon 16 months after his debut fight. The injury layoff and multiple surgeries on his knee undoubtedly left Shogun in worse shape than he normally would have been but many fans are beginning to question his heart and whether the Shogun of Pride will ever show up in the UFC. He’ll have to against Liddell if he wants to continue his way up the 205 lb ladder.
One other interesting tidbit: Dana White was seen chumming it up with heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt at the event. Both are big time fighters over in Japan who seem to be very interested in coming to the U.S. to fight in the premier MMA organization in the World. Perhaps we’ll see Overeem fighting in the UFC soon?
Dan Henderson defeats Rich Franklin via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua defeats Mark Coleman via technical knockout (strikes) at 4:36 of round three
Alan Belcher defeats Denis Kang via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:36 of round two
Marcus Davis defeats Chris Lytle via split decision
Rousimar Palhares defeats Jeremy Horn via unanimous decision
Martin Kampmann defeats Alexandre Barros via technical knockout (strikes) at 3:09 of round two
Eric Schafer defeats Antonio Mendes via technical knockout (strikes) at 3:35 of round one
Tomasz Drwal defeats Ivan Serati via knockout (strikes) at 2:02 of round one
John Hathaway defeats Thomas Egan via technical knockout (strikes) at 4:36 of round one
Dennis Siver defeats Nate Mohr via technical knockout (strikes) at 3:47 of round three