The UFC returns to action this week with the promotion’s first visit to China as it hosts UFC on Fuel TV 6 from Macau on Nov. 10.

In the night’s main event, former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin will battle former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le.

Although the fight is nothing more than a “name” fight—neither fighter is anywhere near the title picture at this stage of their respective careers—that doesn’t mean it won’t be entertaining.

Le is known for his flashy striking and even in defeat, he always makes for an interesting fight. The same could be said of Franklin, who, outside of his lopsided losses to Anderson Silva, has always been a tough fight for anyone.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills matchup against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Franklin – 10, Le – 10

Le (R) delivers a kick (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

There may not be a bigger contrast in styles than the striking attacks of these two fighters. Franklin’s biggest weapon has always been his devastating left hand. With a mixture of boxing and Muay Thai, his strikes are much more pedestrian than his opponent’s, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective. Franklin has amassed 15 of his 29 wins via knockout, but he’s only stopped one opponent in the last four years (Chuck Liddell). Franklin’s strategy for success against Le will have to be closing the distance and using his clinch work.

Le—of Vietnamese descent—possesses a Sanshou background that gives him an arsenal of kicks unlike most MMA fighters. He has used his various spinning attacks to stop multiple opponents, including Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith. In fact, seven of his eight career wins have come by strikes. Le is at his best when he is at range and can freely attack, but has struggled when pressured in close. Against Franklin, he’ll want to make sure that he doesn’t get dragged into close quarters, something that spelled his demise against Wanderlei Silva in his UFC debut.

Ground Game: Franklin – 10, Le – 8

Franklin (Sherdog)

If this fight finds its way to the ground, it will clearly favor the former math teacher, Franklin. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt has 10 career submission wins. However, he hasn’t forced a tap since UFC 50 back in 2004. Franklin has primarily fallen in love with his striking in the later part of his career, but against someone who hasn’t competed against many—if any—submission fighters, Franklin may look to implement his ground game.

To this point in his career, Le has faced mainly strikers. With his strong striking skills, that has played right into his strength. It would be interesting to see how Le would react if he found himself on his back. He is only a blue belt in BJJ and everything points to things ending badly in the submission department.

Wrestling: Franklin – 9, Le – 10

Le (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Much the way that Le hasn’t faced many submission fighters, Franklin hasn’t faced many wrestlers. He did knock out Matt Hamill and dropped a decision to Dan Henderson, but that fight largely took place on the feet. In terms of pure wrestling, Franklin doesn’t have much of a base. Unless Le hurts him on the feet, it’s unlikely that he’ll be shooting for a takedown.

For the accolades that Le has on the feet, most overlook his wrestling background. He wrestled both freestyle and Greco-Roman in college, and there are trips and takedowns in Sanshou. He showcased these for the first time in quite some time in his last outing against Patrick Cote. He was able to put the Canadian on his back at will, which could make for an interesting wild card in this match-up with Franklin.


These two may not have many fights left. Franklin will step into the cage at the age of 38, while Le is now 40 years old. How much longer can these two continue to compete at this level?

Yet, the biggest difference between these two is experience. While Le has plenty of Sanshou fights under his belt, he only has 10 MMA fights. Franklin, on the other hand, has 36 career fights and this will be his 20th Octagon appearance. That’s a huge discrepancy and it is bound to affect the outcome of this fight.

Scorecard: Franklin – 29, Le – 28

Verdict: This fight looks a lot closer from a technical perspective than it will be in Macau. Franklin is a very smart fighter and his experience gives him a huge advantage. Given that Le gassed in his fights with Silva and Cote, expect Franklin to use his cardio edge to be patient early and then finish Le by TKO late.

Top Photo: Rich Franklin (Heavy MMA)