Flashback Fight: Watch Rich Franklin take out Evan Tanner in his UFC debut in 2003

In the first of their two career bouts, Rich Franklin made his successful Octagon debut by knocking out Evan Tanner at UFC 42 on April 25, 2003. Both men would eventually go on to win the UFC middleweight championship.

Franklin took the belt from Tanner at UFC 53 in 2005. He defended the belt twice before running into a brick wall named Anderson Silva. He spent several more years in marquee fights before retiring in 2012. 

Franklin is now a key executive at the Singapore-based ONE Championship fight promotion.

Tanner rebounded from the loss to Franklin to win his next four bouts, including a win over David Terrell to claim the middleweight championship. He lost the belt to Franklin in his next fight, which kicked off a career ending string of four losses in his final five bouts.

Tanner was found dead in the mountain area near Palo Verde, Calif. on Monday, Sept. 8, 2008. He was 37 years old. Tanner had trekked into the desert on a journey to “cleanse” himself, according to his management team. It is something that he has done numerous times over the years.

(Video courtesy of UFC)

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