UFC 99: Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva?

Last week, I had mentioned that Wanderlei Silva was making the move to the middleweight division. I was expecting a warm up fight, building up from there until he earned a title shot against Anderson Silva. What I wasn’t expecting was his next opponent to be Rich Franklin.

And even less explicable, it’s set to be a “catch-weight” fight, even though Franklin had recently moved up to the light heavyweight division, where Silva is…at least for now. When they fight at UFC 99, it looks like it will be at 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.

Don’t get me wrong, it will be a great fight and one I’ve been looking forward to since I knew we’d be seeing it in the future. I’m just not sure how this fight makes sense for either fight. Franklin just made the jump to 205, but agreed for a 185 fight against Dan Henderson. Why he would want another fight outside of the light-heavyweight division, I’m not sure.

Then there’s Wanderlei, who is 1-4 in his last five fights. Rich Franklin? I guess the UFC is probably paying him too much for Silva vs. Jason Day or Jason MacDonald, but it still seems like an odd fight for him right now.

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