• UFC 115

Franklin KOs Liddell with broken arm to spark the end

ESPN staff
June 13, 2010

Chuck Liddell's UFC career is surely over after Rich Franklin delivered a third consecutive knockout to The Iceman in the first round of their UFC 115 main event. Fighting with a broken left forearm for the majority of the bout, Franklin landed a counter right to poleaxe Liddell with five seconds remaining in round one.

Defeat now means Liddell has lost five of his last six, a record that simply does not reflect the legend of the former light-heavyweight champion. Once the most feared striker in MMA, Liddell's punch resistance has almost totally gone.

Franklin revealed pre-fight that he expected more variety in the Liddell game, and he was to be proved correct. The Iceman came out throwing leg kicks and high kicks, breaking Franklin's arm with one such effort.

"Early in the first, the left arm was broken - I can feel the bone clicking," said Franklin. "The game plan was to not stand in front of him, but once he kicked me in the arm, it put me off my game. From then I just tried swinging and things landed.

"I've broken my hand before and didn't quit, are you kidding me? I'm not gonna quit with a broken arm!"

In fairness to Franklin, who becomes a relevant factor in the 205lb decision, he gave as good as he got. Liddell landed a big head kick/body shot combo, so Franklin replied with a good right hook. Liddell landed an uppercut, so Franklin replied with a left.

With both men swinging, a knockout seemed inevitable, particularly when Liddell momentarily dropped his foe with a right hand. By now the Franklin arm was broken and he was retreating towards the fence, chased by Liddell. A high kick landed and Liddell moved in for the kill, but much like the Rashad Evans fight, he walked straight onto a killer blow.

"The thing with Chuck is when he has you on the run, he really over-commits on things," said Franklin. "I just caught him with the right. I want to make a run for this title."

Liddell was clearly affected by the knockout and immediately headed back to the dressing room for medical attention, meaning there was no conclusive Octagon farewell. But it is expected that the Hall of Famer will call it a day with an ever disintegrating 21-8 record.

Mirko Cro Cop delivered his most memorable performance inside the Octagon since his return to the UFC with a come-from-behind submission victory over Pat Barry in a sensational co-main event.

Cro Cop was drinking in the last chance saloon going into Saturday's fight. His recent UFC record read 2-3, and defeat to Barry would surely have been his last. Yet after a disastrous opening round, he battled back to snap on a rear naked choke with just 30 seconds remaining in the fight.

Barry, fighting his hero, began with a huge opening round, most likely a 10-8 round after dropping the Croatian twice. The second time, thanks to an enormous overhand right, left Cro Cop with major swelling over the right eye.

"He caught me twice, the first wasn't bad, he put me on my ass but wasn't bad. Second one was good!" said Cro Cop.

But the legend came out kicking in round two and ended up mounting his opponent to claim a round back. Then came the decisive conclusion in round three, when a flurry of feints, uppercuts and straight lefts dropped Barry. Cro Cop pounced to land around 20 follow-up punches, opening his foe for the fight-winning rear naked choke.

"I had opportunities to choke him, he made space for me so I choked him. I hope Dana White won't be stingy and will give me Submission of the Night, if not Fight of the Night as well!"

In the welterweight division, Paulo Thiago's hopes of pushing himself forward as a future contender to Georges St-Pierre's 170lb title were shattered by a unanimous decision loss to Martin Kampmann.

Boasting the heavier hands, proven by victories over Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick, the Brazilian was expected to control the stand-up, yet the reality was the opposite. Jabbing and releasing, Kampmann frustrated his foe before switching to the mat for further control. Three dominant rounds went the way of the Dane, who has now won his last two fights.

Staying in the 170lb division, Carlos Condit pulled victory from the jaws of defeat when stopping Rory MacDonald with seven seconds remaining in the fight.

MacDonald dominated rounds one and two with relentless takedowns and superior stand-up, but he got carried away in the third and left himself open to a shattering overhand right from Condit. That changed everything as Condit went to work on the floor, handing MacDonald a suspected orbital floor fracture with an elbow, and when referee Kevin Dornan stepped in with seven seconds remaining there were no complaints from the defeated.

"I didn't know what was going on," said MacDonald. "I thought it might be the end of the round. It was a just stoppage, he was kicking my ass."

And in the heavyweight division, Ben Rothwell bounced back from defeat to Cain Velasquez with a unanimous decision win over Gilbert Yvel. In a fight that raised question marks over both men's cardio, Rothwell took rounds one and three in what surprisingly turned out to be a ground war.

Prelim Results
Evan Dunham bt. Tyson Griffin via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Matt Wiman bt. Mac Danzig via guillotine choke - Round 1, 1:45
Mario Miranda bt. David Loiseau via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 4:07
James Wilks bt. Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision
Claude Patrick bt. Ricardo Funch via guillotine choke - Round 2, 1:48
Mike Pyle bt. Jesse Lennox via triangle choke - Round 3, 4:44

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