If Chuck Liddell’s life was a movie, UFC 115 would have ended much differently tonight. He would have knocked out -- the equally classy -- Rich Franklin, and called it a career.
Unfortunately, Liddell’s life isn’t a movie, and his career won’t end with a storybook victory.
With only seconds remaining in the first round of UFC 115’s main event on Saturday night at General Motors place, Franklin knocked out Liddell with counter hook to the chin. And with that, The Iceman went down for the count giving the once unstoppable Liddell his fifth defeat in the last six fights.
By the end of the bout, Franklin’s arm was extremely swollen from a break he suffered during a block of Liddell’s powerful kick. Still, showing the heart of a champion, Franklin continued to power through. He later told reporters that he would have fought the entire second round with a broken arm, had the situation called for it.
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Liddell hadn’t fought since his loss to Muaricio “Shogun” Rua 14 months ago at UFC 97.
Despite the ultimate result, Liddell was scoring well on Saturday and dictating the pace of the match. If not for Franklin’s well-timed blow, he would have likely won the first round on the judges’ cards.
In the night’s other highly anticipated bout, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic defeated Pat Barry with a rare naked choke with a mere 30 seconds remaining in the fight.
Prior to the match, Barry made his admiration for Filipovic no secret, so many were eager to see how he would come out against the PRIDE veteran.
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Showing no hesitation, Barry went after “Cro Cop” and knocked him down twice while controlling a good portion of the fight. Unfortunately, Barry’s poor conditioning failed him when Filipovic picked up the pace in the second round and caused him to go on the defensive. In the third round, the PRIDE vet took over and caught Barry with a number of fast combinations forcing him to retreat. Capitalizing on this, Filipovic took advantage of his opponent’s positioning and caught the unsuspecting Barry in a choke hold.
Carlos Condit defeated Rory MacDonald
Ben Rothwell defeated Gilbert Yvel
Martin Kampmann defeated Paulo Thiago