The UFC is trying to avoid the mistakes that boxing has made over the last 20 years. Elite boxers too often avoided one another during their prime years. Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson may be moving toward the back end of their careers but they are definitely still amongst the elite. The disappointing part of this night was the fact that neither is still a world champ which would've forced them to fight for five rounds. Henderson won a split decision from Franklin in this three-rounder but no one could really walk away with bragging rights.
It was a tough fight to score and the judges' scorecards turned out a wide range. Two judges gave the fight to Henderson 29-28 and the other judge gave it 30-27 to Franklin.
Each round featured stints where both fighters played to their strengths. Henderson turned in some good ground work in the first and second rounds. He scored takedowns and nullified Franklin's more precise stand-up game. Henderson didn't do a ton of damage on the ground but he landed enough hammerfists and elbows to bruise up Franklin's face. He opened up a small cut in the middle of Franklin's forehead. Franklin also suffered a vicious cut by his hairline via a Hendo unintentional headbutt.
Franklin had his moments in each round with more accurate striking and a bevy of body kicks. He looked like the fresher fighter down the stretch before he was nailed in the eye as Henderson pawed with a left hand jab. The fight was stopped for ovet two minutes with just
The win gets Henderson a slot on the UFC reality show "The Ultimate Fighter 9: U.S. versus U.K." Henderson will coach the American team and then face British coach Michael Bisping later this summer. The winner of that fight is expected to face UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Photo via CombatLifestyle