MANILA, Philippines – Mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Wanderlei Silva vowed to give a treat to his Brazilian fans by settling the score with Rich “The Ace” Franklin in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 147 in Brazil this weekend.
“The Axe Murderer” will fight in his native Brazil for the first time in 12 years and he wants to make his “homecoming” sweet by avenging his 2009 defeat to Franklin.
“I wanted this rematch for a long time, because I think I won the [first] fight,” Silva said in Countdown to UFC 147.
The last time he fought in his home country was when he was just starting out as a teenager, competing in bare knuckle Muay Thai competitions in Curitiba.
Before joining the UFC, he ventured in Japan's PRIDE Fighting Championships, where he was middleweight champion for 6 years.
In UFC 99, he waged a 3-round octagon brawl against Franklin in Cologne, Germany but lost by unanimous decision.
“I need to prove to my fans that I can beat him. And I gonna beat him right now,” said Silva.
In preparation for their awaited rematch, Silva honed his ground fighting skills.
“I trained a lot of ju-jitsu and I hope it's a good way to beat him because he's a great striker,” said the Brazilian MMA great.
“I'm a more complete athlete right now. I'm ready for the fight.”
Meanwhile, Franklin said he was the clear winner of the first fight.
He added that he’s unafraid to bring their battle to the mat, citing his own ground fighting skills.
“I'm comfortable being on my back... I'm very confident of my ju-jitsu skills,” said Franklin.
UFC 147 will take place at the Belo Horizonte, Brazil on Saturday.
It will be aired locally by BALLS Channel on Sunday, with replays on Studio 23.