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Rich Franklin returns at UFC 148 against Cung Le

UFC officials have announced a middleweight battle between Rich Franklin and Cung Le at UFC 148. The event is scheduled for July 7 from Las Vegas and expected to feature bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz clashing with rival Urijah Faber in the main event. The two are currently coaching opposite one another on the Ultimate Fighter 15.

Franklin has been out of action since early in 2011 when he was defeated by Forrest Griffin in a battle of ex-champions. “Ace” was expected to meet Antonio Rogerio Nogueira later in the year but shoulder surgery knocked him from the bout and has kept him out since. The fight will mark Franklin’s return to middleweight after a stint at 205 pounds.

Le, a former Strikeforce champion, made his UFC debut last November at UFC 139. However, while the fight featured many of the scintillating strikes the San Shou master is known for, ultimately things did not go as planned as Wanderlei Silva broke his nose and ended things via TKO in the second round of the scrap.