With a broken hand and a undying will to win, Rich “Ace” Franklin knocked out Chuck “Ice Man” Liddell in the first round of their match at UFC 115. Liddell adjusted to Franklin’s strategy well, but in the end fell victim to a devastating blow from Ace’s right hand that put him to the mat.
Franklin’s strategy became clear within moments of the start of the fight. He threw quick left hands down the middle, while mixing in leg kicks to prevent Ice Man from positioning his feet for his patented right hand. Liddell countered with kicks of his own, something MMA fans had yet to see much of from Chuck.
Liddell brought the fight to the mat midway through the first round. His ability to take Franklin down is also something that has been missing from the hall-of-famer’s arsenal. When the two fighters emerged from their position on the mat, Liddell had a visible cut between his eyes.
Ace then began to let his hands fly, but with a little over a minute left in the round Liddell struck gold when his right hand that Franklin had been dodging the entire match finally landed. Franklin went staggering backward and Liddell pressed him with a flurry of punches. Rich fought through the stars and fired back, and with five seconds left in the round referee Herb Dean halted the match.
The win improved Franklin’s record to 28-5, while Liddell falls to 21-8 after losing five of his last six fights. The 34-year old Franklin says he is not done at 205, and wants to make a title run.
“I’m here at 205 and I’m gonna make a run for the title,” said Franklin.
After the fight, it was learned that Franklin broke his hand early in the first round. A Liddell kick disabled the hand, but Franklin fought through the pain to knockout one of the most feared fighters in UFC history.
“I broke my hand before and didn’t quit,” said a smiling Franklin after the bout.
Also scoring wins at UFC 115 were Mirko Cro Cop, Martin Kampmann, Ben Rothwell, and Carlos Condit. The next UFC event will take place July 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada and features Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin. MMA sportsbooks have set Lesnar as the favorite in the main event at UFC 116. His line is set at -200, while Carwin’s underdog line is set at +160.