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Franklin looks to ace another test at UFC 64
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Other matches at UFC 64Franklin-Silva is one of two title matches at UFC 64. In the other, "The Muscle Shark" Sean Sherk will take on Kenny Florian for the vacant lightweight championship. UFC had a championship in the 155-lb. weight class (not to be confused with the current welterweight title, which was originally called the lightweight title) from 2001-02. Jens "L'il Evil" Pulver won a five-round unanimous decision over Caol Uno at UFC 30 to take the gold. Pulver successfully defended the title with decisions over Dennis Hallman and B.J. Penn before leaving the UFC in a contract dispute. At the time, UFC was running anywhere between 4-6 shows per year, and main event matches were at a premium, so the lightweight belt went unfilled for four years. "There were only so many matches we could schedule at the time," said UFC president Dana White. "We love the lightweight division. These guys are so fast, they bring fans some of the most exciting action you're going to see anywhere. Now that we're doing a show or two every month and have a ton of good young fighters, the time was right to bring the lightweight belt back. We're really excited about this." With the roster of potential lightweight standouts UFC has amassed in recent months, it isn't hard to see why. Pulver returned to the fold, and lost to tenacious youngster Joe Lauzon in his return. Spencer Fisher has made an impression as one of the most exciting young fighters in the game. Hermes Franca is streaky, but exciting. Melvin Guillard, Roger Huerta, and Tyson Griffin, though all still needing experience, are loaded with potential. And who knows, maybe B.J. Penn, who clocked in for his welterweight title fight with Matt Hughes at 166.5 pounds, will drop down a class. That's what Minneapolis native Sherk is doing. The Muscle Shark is 30-2-1 on his career and has mainly competed as a welterweight, where he's gone toe-to-toe with the best and not backed down. Sherk became the only fighter ever to take Matt Hughes a full five rounds before dropping a unanimous decision at UFC 42. That defeat, and a second-round loss last year to Georges St. Pierre, pushed Sherk to the back of the line for a title shot, making his decision to fight at 155 at this stage a sound one.
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