In light of yesterday’s result at UFC on FUEL TV 6 where Rich Franklin was knocked out in the first round by Cung Le, something struck me about the way in which it ended. I don’t mean that it ended suprisingly and spectacularly, although, that’s true, too. I mean it looked familiar.
Sure enough, I looked back at Franklin’s UFC middleweight title defense against David Loiseau from March of 2006 at UFC 58. In the middle of round three, Franklin fired a left leg kick high on the thigh. It landed (mostly), but Loiseau fired back and floored Franklin then the same way Le did yesterday. Here’s Sherdog’s play-by-play from that event:
Two nice kicks to Rich’s body but he takes Dave down and advances to mount in mere seconds.The champion now has the challenger’s back with double hooks. Huge knot over Dave’s eye that requires a doctor’s check but he chooses to continue. Out of no-where, Dave drops Rich with a left hook but Rich quickly recovers. Rich back on the attack. Big left hand lead from Rich scores.
The key difference between Loiseau’s punch and Le’s is not the side Franklin kicked. Both times he went with a left leg kick high on the thigh. It was that Loiseau first fired a right but missed, so immediately followed up with a left. Le, on the other hand, was able to land with the first punch he through: an overhand right.
No two punches are identical and one shouldn’t read too much into yesterday’s result, but the similarities are sufficient enough for me to inventory Franklin’s ability to take punishment. His chin has never been one of MMA’s best, but where it fell short Franklin made up for it in physical fitness and great recovery instincts. Now, though, even those traits or talents can’t help him, at least not in the way they once did.