The UFC isn’t letting fight fans catch their breath this weekend, following Friday’s UFC on FX card with UFC 147, headlined by a catch-weight bout between two MMA legends.
Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva square off for the second time, following Franklin’s decision victory at UFC 99 back in June 2009. While neither veteran is going to be contending for a title anytime soon, the big-name draw has grabbed the attention of sports bettors.
According to renowned MMA linesmaker Joey Oddessa, he opened Silva as a slight -125 favorite in May. Silva is fighting in his home country of Brazil, with Saturday’s event being held at the Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte. But despite a clear home-court advantage, MMA money has flipped the odds and now has Franklin sitting as high as -170 for this bout.
“It's been all Franklin since,” Oddessa told Covers
. “The favorite flipped early and has stayed steady. Players backed off a bit when it hit Franklin -155. There are still some Franklin -140s out there.”
Franklin took the fight on short notice after the UFC 147 card was revamped numerous times, replacing Vitor Belfort who pulled out after breaking his hand in training. He’ll face Silva at a 190-pound catch weight, a task Oddessa believes Franklin is ready for.
“Short notice doesn't help anyone, even with the catch weight,” he says. “Sure, Rich has to make the weight, but only he knows how his weight cut is going. Weigh-ins are overrated because no two fighters are the same in how they handle it and recover.”
Their previous encounter earned Silva and Franklin Fight of the Night honors at UFC 99. Franklin edged Silva on the judges’ cards 30–27, 29–28, 29–28 that night in Cologne, Germany. However, if Saturday's bout does go the distance, the tables could be turned thanks to the Brazilian crowd's influence on the scorers.
“I'd be disappointed if they weren't influenced,” says Oddessa. “They're human and if it's close, it’s going to have an impact on some of the better judges in the sport.”
“I expect both guys to start swinging for the fences about half way through Round 1. Unlike the German bout, I don't see it going the distance. And if it does, Brazil's a tough venue to get a decision in against a local all-time great.”
American fighters are a staggering 1-9 versus Brazilian foes on their home soil, looking back over the results from UFC 134 and 142.
Here’s a look at the rest of the main card and odds for UFC 147 Saturday:
Cezar Ferreira (-300) vs. Sergio Moraes (+229)
Moraes gets a ticket to the TUF final thanks to an injury to Daniel Sarafian, who knocked his ass out during the reality TV competition. He’s a great grappler but on short notice and with the ghost of KO’s past haunting him, his UFC debut could be a little too much to handle.
Godofredo Pepey (+240) vs. Rony Mariano Bezerra (-300)
The Brazilian TUF featherweight crown is up for grabs. Bezerra has the edge in experience and displayed his versatility during the show, scoring wins via KO, submission and decision. But you hate to eat that much chalk with unproven talent.Fabricio Werdum (-555) vs. Mike Russow (+380)
Werdum has looked solid since knocking Fedor Emelianenko off his throne two years ago. He took a decision loss to Alistair Overeem and beat big-boned Roy Nelson at UFC 143 in February. As mentioned above, Americans don’t usually make it out of Brazil on their feet, but Russow has won 11 straight fights including going 4-0 in the UFC. Yuri Alcantara (-280) vs. Hacran Dias (+215)
Dias makes his much ballyhooed UFC debut Saturday. The promotion bypassed his potential run on TUF and signed him straight up. At +215, and fighting to give his family a better life, he’s the liveliest dog in the bunch.Follow Jason Logan on Twitter @CoversJLo