A Special Treat: Rich Franklin vs Forrest Griffin

By Michael DiSanto

I typically break down the top matchups for each fight card. Not this one. No Xs and Os. No keys to victory. Not this time.

Rich Franklin versus Forrest Griffin isn’t that type of fight. Sure, it is a marquee matchup involving two former champions still in their competitive prime. It deserves as much promotional attention, in my opinion, as the main event between pound-for-pound ruler Anderson Silva and one of the sport’s favorite sons, Vitor Belfort.

Not because it is for a championship or to determine the next in line for a title shot. The winner will certainly put himself into the title discussions. The guy who comes up short likely won’t be doing much damage to his standing in the division. So, why does this deserve the same level of attention as a title fight or title eliminator? Because this puppy has all the ingredients to be a timeless war that the fans will talk about for ages.

That is all fine and good. But it doesn’t explain why I’m abandoning my traditional Xs and Os approach to the fights.

Let me explain. Even though I watch virtually every UFC fight live, I always watch tape of at least two fights of each competitor before diving into a breakdown. Why? Memories fade or get distorted during recall. The privilege of watching bouts again immediately before breaking down the action provides the luxury of pause and rewind, slow motion and looking for nuances, mistakes or tendencies through the filter of comparing one fighter’s strengths to another’s weaknesses.

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