UFC 99 is finally here (well, it will be tomorrow) and the main event of Rich Franklin taking on Wanderlei Silva is a very interesting one. Is it worthy of the headline status? For a show overseas, probably. For a fan to shell out the same cash they will for UFC 100? Probably not.
Whether you watch it at 3 p.m. live or at 10 p.m. on tape delay, it should be an entertaining card. Silva and Franklin both like to stand and bang, and both guys need a win. Silva is trying to make a case for a title shot against Anderson Silva for his middleweight tile. Franklin is trying to gain legitimacy in the scene at 205 pounds. Both guys have gone too long without a defining win. Franklin is the Vegas favorite (-160) and Silva is the pros favorite and it’s a tough one to call. I think Franklin will get the win with a third-round TKO, but very little (other than a submission or a boring fight, maybe) in this one will surprise me.
The fight between Cain Velasquez and Cheick Kongo should be intriguing as well. Velasquez is an impressive heavyweight prospect, but Kongo seems in line for a title shot after Brock Lesnar faces Frank Mir. While the heavyweight scene in the UFC doesn’t look as bland as it used to, there still isn’t a ton there and Velasquez moves much closer to a title shot with a win. One would have to think Kongo is officially next in line with one. I know Kongo was a late addition to this fight but I’m not ready to jump on the Velasquez bandwagon just yet.
And, for those of you interested in the past, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is on the card. His bout with Mustapha Al-Turk will be interesting because Filipovic will kick Al-Turk in the head and Al-Turk will lose consciousness. This will cause everyone to rave about how the old Cro Cop is back and is going to set the UFC heavyweight division on fire. Then he’ll go on to lose to Gabriel Gonzaga again or to the loser of the Randy Couture vs. Minotauro Nogueira matchup. It will be cool to see the highlight knockout, but I’m not holding out hope for the old "Cro Cop" to return to the MMA scene.