Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Franklin seeks redemption

By Dave Doyle

It is quite possible that Rich Franklin's war with David Loiseau at UFC 58 last March could go down as one of those fights from which neither fighter ever really recovers.

Both missed several months recovering from injuries sustained during the 25-minute onslaught: Loiseau, who lost a unanimous decision, has looked listless in two fights since; Franklin returned eight months later and lost the middleweight title to Anderson Silva in a one-sided fight in which he suffered a fractured nose.

But it's way too soon to write off Franklin. The Cincinnati native will have the Buckeye State fans behind him as he looks to climb the ladder back to the top as he takes on tough Canadian Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald.

"This is a big night and a big fight," said Franklin (20-2). "I had a bad night back in October, but I'm ready to put this all behind me and get back on track to getting my title. Jason MacDonald, they don't call him 'The Athlete' for nothing. He's proven himself as a force to be reckoned with in the UFC."

In MacDonald, Franklin faces a foe that has already built up a rep for spoiling the UFC's plans. The 18-7 jiu-jitsu standout from Edmonton lost his first four pro fights. But he stuck with the sport and has won his past six. Those include his first two UFC matches; first a nifty submission win over Ed Herman on Oct. 10 with a first-round guillotine; then a clinic at UFC 66 in which he waited out Chris Leben's standup assault, then choked Leben out after he gassed in the second.

"Jason MacDonald is no one's stepping stone," said MacDonald. "I said that before my first fight in the UFC and I'll say that again now. I'm not an easy win for Rich Franklin or anyone."


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