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Rich Franklin Replaces Vitor Belfort, Fights Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147

Written by Tom Ngo
May 30th, 2012
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UFC Light Heavyweight Rich Franklin

How fitting. Former high school math teacher Rich Franklin (Pictured) has agreed to serve as a last-minute substitute to fight Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147. The icons will battle in a five-round, 190-pound catchweight bout on June 23rd.

Silva was originally slated to headline the show against Vitor Belfort, but “The Phenom” was forced to withdraw over the weekend with a broken left hand.

“The Axe Murderer,” who is currently coaching opposite Belfort in “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” has lost three of his last five scraps. However, Silva posted a much-needed TKO victory over Cung Le this past November at UFC 139.

Franklin hasn’t been seen since dropping a unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126 in February 2011. The former middleweight champion has been recovering from an October shoulder surgery. Franklin has alternated between wins and losses over his last six bouts.

This shootout will be a rematch from their June 2009 encounter. Franklin hung a close unanimous decision win over Silva at UFC 99.

Franklin was scheduled to face the aforementioned Le at UFC 148. No word on who the former Strikeforce star will now meet on Fourth of July weekend.

Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais hosts the UFC’s return to Brazil.

Here is the card’s updated lineup:

Milton Viera vs. Felipe Arantes

Yuri Alcantara vs. Hacran Dias

“TUF: Brazil” Featherweight Finals

“TUF: Brazil” Middleweight Finals

Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow

Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin

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