There is no denying it; the fight card for UFC 72 is the UFC’s weakest offering in quite some time. I am a devoted student of the game, and all I can tell you is that Rich Franklin is fighting Yushin Okami, Forrest Griffin is fighting (somebody) and that some fighters with Irish heritage are making an appearance.
That being said, the intrigue of a Franklin/Okami battle is more than enough reason for me to tune in once again.
The Way It Is: Barring a freak knockout or submission, Rich Franklin should overwhelm Okami early in the fight. Franklin is relentless. If you watch Franklin’s pre-Silva fights, he comes out swinging from bell to bell. As bad as he looked against Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin is easily one of the most effective, well-rounded fighters in the UFC. Punching, kicking, knees, takedowns, slams, and submissions are all a big part of Franklin’s impressive game.
Most of all, with Franklin-Silva II lurking in the not-too-distant future, Franklin should be more motivated than he ever has to pull out a win in this fight to secure the rematch.
Don’t get me wrong, Okami is great and he’s only going to get better. If the situation is right, I have no problem picking the underdog. In this situation however, I simply believe Rich Franklin will be too much for Okami to handle.
Bottom line, Okami is good, but he’s not THAT good. Don’t count him out completely, but count him out.