Former UFC middleweight champ Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin knows there’s no such thing as home turf advantage once the cage door slams shut.
So the prospect of fighting before a sold-out crowd in his hometown, proved more a curse than a blessing for the Ohio native.
“For this fight, I took an entire camp out of Cincinnati,” says Franklin, who boasts an enviable 22-2 record as a pro.
“It was very distracting being in my hometown. So we left and came out to the mountains (in Wyoming).”
Franklin, who will get a chance to avenge his convincing title loss to Brazilian super striker Anderson ‘Spider’ Silva tonight (SATURDAY) at UFC 77:Hostile Territory, is hoping to prove he’s found an answer to Silva’s iron clinch.
During the October 2006 loss, Silva had his way with the powerful Franklin. The former high school teacher didn’t survive past the three-minute mark, eating knees from inside Silva’s Thai clinch.
The morning after losing the belt still haunts him.
“I had a really sore nose,” jokes Franklin who had his nose broken with a highlight reel knee to the face.
“I did a lot of staring out the window wondering where I went wrong and what happened and why. And you keep asking yourself why and why and why.”
Since the loss, Franklin has gone on to beat Alberta fighter Jason MacDonald and Japan’s Yushin Okami — who will fight each other in UFC 77 undercard.
He says he’s also learned a lot about Silva watching the Brazilian’s two most recent scraps.
“As far as this fight goes, I'm going to walk out there and start throwing punches like I always do,” says Franklin.
“And of course I have a game plan but ultimately I'm just going to take the path of least resistance and if that means keeping it up fine. If we end up on the ground then that's fine as well.”
Franklin admits he didn’t do his homework last time the pair met.
“I think that in the initial fight at the time I believed that I put the amount of time in that I should've to study him and I didn't,” he said.
“So we've done a lot better job this time.”
Silva, through an interpreter, says he doesn’t view the fight as a rematch. He is treating as if it’s the first time the two fighters met and promises “the fight of the night if not the year.”
• Light heavyweight superstar Wanderlei Silva’s set to unveil the great mystery of who will be his first fight since joining the UFC. Silva has stated on his website the UFC will announce who he fights next at the Cincinnati event. My money’s he’ll fight Chuck at UFC 79, Dec. 29 in Vegas.
• Pride heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko will be in New York Monday where he’ll announce who he’s signed with. All rumours point to him signing on with the Russian based M-1 fight league.
• At 6-foot-eight, 260 lbs., you’d figure respect would be the least of Tim Sylvia’s problems. But the resident Rodney Dangerfield of mixed martial arts is again the underdog on Saturday’s fight card according the Vegas line. Even his opponent Brandon Vera calls him a boring fighter. Ouch!
•UFC fighter Forrest Griffin is headed for the small screen. He will be a guest star on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. The episode will air Nov. 13.
For the latest in mixed-martial-arts news log on to The Scrapyard blog at www.calgarysun.com