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UFC 147 fight card: Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva deja vu

Wanderlei Silva (left) squares off against Rich Franklin (right) at the UFC 147 weigh-in event in Brazil. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
Wanderlei Silva (left) squares off against Rich Franklin (right) at the UFC 147 weigh-in event in Brazil. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.

If it feels like we've been here before, that's because we have.

Rewind back to June 13, 2009. Rich Franklin was coming off a close decision loss to Dan Henderson and was at a sort of career crossroads. He had been beaten out of the middleweight division but the light heavyweight division just didn't feel like home.

Wanderlei Silva, meanwhile, had just been slept by Quinton Jackson, his fourth loss in five fights and third by way of brutal knockout. His career was also very much up in the air, no one quite sure of exactly what he had left to offer.

So the two met up for a catchweight showdown at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany, and put on one hell of a show, going back-and-forth for three rounds and 15 minutes until the judges declared "Ace" the victor by way of unanimous decision.

But his path over the next few years, no different than Silva's, would be rocky and full of uncertainty.

After his win over Silva, Franklin returned for another catchweight bout, as he quickly got into the habit of bailing his employers out of tight spots. He was knocked out by Vitor Belfort, though, before heading back up to light heavyweight to knock out Chuck Liddell and send him off into retirement once and for all.

His latest performance saw him look completely overmatched in dropping a decision to Forrest Griffin more than one year ago.

Silva's three bouts since his first meeting with "Ace" have been typical of his fighting style. He dropped down to 185-pounds and earned a hard fought decision win over Michael Bisping before Chris Leben sent him off on yet another trip to La La Land.

His latest effort was a crushing knockout win over Cung Le in the former Strikeforce champion's Octagon debut.

Now the two wayward warriors meet again, the product of timing, bad luck, and good will. And, no different than thee years ago, both men are at a sort of career crossroads. A victory won't do much for either, as neither man will be challenging for a championship in any weight class anytime soon. Probably never again, actually.

That doesn't mean a loss wouldn't be equally as devastating. Indeed, one more knockout could force "The Axe Murderer" to finally hang up his legendary gloves. Franklin has acknowledged he can't fight forever but he's been forced to face his pending retirement.

This bout was put together on short notice but it could very well have far reaching implications for the long term status of two beloved fighter's careers.

Or it could just be a fun scrap between two sluggers looking to put on a show for adoring fans in Brazil.

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