UFC Hall of Famer Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell was once the most destructive force in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division. Liddell held the prestigious light heavyweight championship for two straight years, knocking his foes out left and right while leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
Liddell has not scored a knockout victory since 2006. He hasn’t won a fight since late 2007. The legendary striker is 1-4 in his past five fights — including vicious defeats at the hands of Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans and current champion Mauricio Rua.
At UFC 115, Liddell looks to start the biggest comeback in UFC history when he meets a fellow MMA legend and former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. Let’s take a look at the matchup to see who has the advantage.
In their prime they were viewed as the top strikers in their respective divisions. Liddell dominated the light heavyweight class with his counter striking and power punching prowess, while Franklin took the more technical approach.
Liddell has clearly looked weaker in the standup department lately and his once-legendary granite chin seems to have diminished. At 40 years old Liddell can still launch a right hand like a 95 mph fastball, but the problem is that he rarely lands that big shot anymore. He starts combinations with looping shots or wild uppercuts that leave him susceptible to a knockout blow.
Although Liddell has been working with world class boxing trainer Howard Davis Jr. leading up to this fight, it’s difficult to teach an old dog new tricks.
Unless Liddell can put Franklin away with a power shot, you can look for Franklin to pick Liddell apart from the southpaw stance. Not only is Franklin a very technical striker but he also hits hard. That doesn’t bode well for Liddell on the feet.
Franklin has the advantage, 10-9
Both fighters possess an excellent defensive sprawl in their arsenals. Both fighters use their wrestling skills almost exclusively to block takedowns and keep the fight standing, and they’ve been very good at it over their careers. Many believed Liddell once had the best takedown defense in the entire sport and he’s respected to this day for that ability.
Liddell comes from a solid collegiate wrestling background so in that sense he does have the edge over Franklin in this particular department. That’s not to say that Franklin is going to be taken down at will but if Liddell does want to take it to the floor, he should be able to.
Liddell has the advantage, 10-9