UFC 93: "Franklin vs. Henderson" took place earlier today live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the 02 Arena in Dublin, Ireland. (Be sure to check out the replay tonight starting at 10pm ET on PPV if you didn't have a chance to catch this afternoon's live action.)
For years people wanted to see middleweights Rich "Ace" Franklin and Dan "Hollywood" Henderson face off against each other to see who the better man was at 185 pounds. Today the two finally squared off in the Octagon in the main event of UFC 93 ... as light heavyweights.
As many expected him to do, Henderson used a strong wrestling attack to score a lot of takedowns to control most of the first two rounds. His ground and pound was on point and he did a lot of damage to the former UFC 185-pound champion with elbows and ground strikes.
Franklin stayed competitive throughout the fight and showed a lot of heart by winning the third round. He put a nice all around striking game on display, complete with punches, kicks and knees in this fight. "Ace" was certainly prepared and had a solid gameplan, but it's more than likely difficult to fully prepare for what it actually feels like once Dan Henderson grabs you.
Both fighters had their moments, but in the end Dan Henderson's strong start by stealing the first two rounds is what won him the fight.
With the win he now becomes the coach of the U.S. side in the new season of "The Ultimate Fighter," which features a "U.S. vs. England" theme. His opposing coach will be England's own Michael "The Count" Bisping - who will, of course, coach the British team.
The two coaches will face each other at the end of the season with the winner more than likely earning a shot at division kingpin Anderson Silva shortly thereafter.
The co-main event today was a rematch from a fight in Japan a few years back between Brazilian Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and UFC Hall of Famer Mark "The Hammer" Coleman in which Rua sustained a injury early on which caused a premature stop.
Both fighters came out blazing looking to impose their will and respective gameplans. In the process, however, they basically both ran out of gas. The second and third rounds were filled with lazy takedown attempts and wild punches hay-makers. It resembled more of a fight you'd see in prison than one between a Hall of Famer and a man who was once considered the best fighter in perhaps the deepest division in the sport.
Coleman fought valiantly and was winning the third round before Rua finally connected on a devastating fight-stopping combination late in the third round. Shogun was probably on his way to a decision win, but came through with the late stoppage.
Regardless, there was nothing impressive about this fight for the Chute Boxe product. This makes back to back fights for him in the Octagon where he gassed out and looked less than impressive. Maybe this will be a wake up call for him and he'll bounce back and return to the Shogun of old.
One can only hope.
Denis Kang's UFC debut was soured by a second round submission loss to Muay Thai specialist Alan Belcher. Kang looked to be in control most of the fight, winning the first round by with his crisp stand up and takedowns.
The second round was more of the same, but Belcher started gaining confidence on his feet. Kang attempted one last takedown attempt with less than a minute remaining in the round and fell right into a deep guillotine choke from Belcher.
Plain and simple ... he got caught.
After the fight, Belcher referred to himself as the top dog in the UFC and started talking about title shots and stuff. Maybe Kang hit him a little too hard once or twice, but he might want to bite his tongue next time those thoughts pop up in his head ... especially if there's a microphone around.
Tough Brazilian Rousimar Palhares needed the full three rounds to grind out a unanimous decision against MMA journeyman Jeremy Horn. After the fight he revealed that he suffered a broken hand in the first round and that's why he had to resort to plan B, which was take Horn down and look for submissions and ground strikes.
That being the case, this fight speaks volumes on just how talented Palhares is. To break his hand in the first round against a seasoned veteran like Jeremy Horn and still come away with the unanimous decision is very impressive to say the least.
Finally, in the fight that was perhaps the most anticipated on the card all together because of all the back and forth pre-fight talk between both sides, welterweights Chris "Lights Out" Lytle and Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenades" Davis fought to a split decision.
The two fighters agreed to stand and trade with each other weeks before the actual event in hopes of putting on a great fight for the Irish fans. And when the opening bell rang, it was clear they were going to do just that.
Lytle's strategy was to stay aggressive and swing for the fences. Davis, on the other hand, played a more defensive role and used a lot of technical boxing to counter Lytle's aggression. It was a solid back and forth war, but technique won out over heart and aggression in the end.
Davis won a razor close split decision much to the delight of the Irish crowd. Things won't get any easier for him with the win though. He has some tough fights ahead of him in the talented UFC 170-pound division.
All in all, UFC 93 was an decent event. Both Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson put on main event worthy performances and there were a couple of very close fights. It just felt like it lacked anything spectacular, or should I say, anything that was $49.95-worthy.
But, there is always BJ Penn vs. GSP II coming up next, which is only two weeks away. It can't come soon enough.
For the complete UFC 93 coverage and blow-by-blow main card commentary click here.