Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) scheduled its UFC 147 pay-per-view (PPV) main event between Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin, emanating from Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on June 23, 2012, for five full rounds.
It almost ended in two.
"The Axe Murderer" put "Ace" in the hole with his trademark blitzkrieg of punches, dropping the former middleweight champion and nearly pounding him out as they approached the 10-minute mark. Franklin somehow slithered, squirmed and survived just long enough to keep Mario Yamasaki from stopping the action.
He was, quite literally, saved by the bell.
With 60 seconds to shake off the cobwebs, Franklin roared back in the third round, finishing with a strong takedown and vicious ground and pound that likely neutralized the previous five minutes.
At least in the judges' eyes.
It also helped that Silva was either too patient or too tired to get anything going for the remainder of the fight, allowing Franklin to fully regain his composure and outstrike him across the remaining rounds. Wandy once again uncorked a ferocious flurry as time expired, but it was too little, too late.
For the second time in his career, Rich Franklin has defeated Wanderlei Silva by way of unanimous decision.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" semifinalist Sergio Moraes, who stepped in on short notice to replace a faulty Daniel Sarafian, wanted to secure his place in the "Rocky" history books by capturing the TUF crown from the heavily-favored Cezar Ferreira.
Instead, it's back to the meat locker to box some beef.
To his credit, the jiu-jitsu wizard held his own in the stand-up, "through heart and determination," according to UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, rocking "Mutante" and nearly polishing him off in the second stanza. Ferreira weathered the storm and despite some turbulence in the final five minutes, did enough to secure the unanimous decision victory as well as the 185-pound TUF title.
It wasn't quite the slobberknocker that was Griffin vs. Bonnar (part one), but for a TUF finale, it certainly delivered.
Speaking of wrapping up loose
cannons ends, Godofredo Castro came into last night's featherweight finale looking to prove he was worthy of being called TUF champion, but instead fought like he was a still a contestant on the Brazilian reality show. "Pepey" was winging punches with reckless abandon and when they didn't connect, he took it to the ground.
No luck there, either.
That's because Rony Mariano Bezerra was able to maintain his composure throughout the three-round affair, effectively counter-punching and shucking off submission attempts from his aggressive (albeit sloppy) attacker. In fact, most -- if not all -- of the damage received was to his Brazilian bean bag, as Castro was trying to castrate with a bevy of inside leg kicks.
Two of them missed their mark and action came to a halt.
That, coupled with a few blows to the back of the head and an inordinate amount of flying guard, gave the cageside judges all the information they needed to score the contest in favor of Bezerra. Deservingly so.
Take a bow, champ.
Mike Russow blew through the Mineirinho entrance ramp like a "Windy City" tumbleweed and had the tallest of orders in his mission to upset Fabricio Werdum, who practically floated to the cage White Lotus-style thanks to a shockwave of support from the hometown crowd.
"Vai Cavalo" didn't let them down.
Russow gave it the ol' college try, but Werdum was flat-out in the zone and continued to flaunt his dramatically improved stand-up, arresting Johnny Law with a jaw-jamming uppercut to notch his first technical knockout (TKO) win since pounding out Brandon Vera over four years ago.
He may not be ready for a title shot just yet, but he's getting pretty damn close.
Yuri Alcantara welcomed Hacran Dias to the UFC for what was the promotion's two-thousandth fight. The crafty up-and-coming Pretorians were evenly matched and their 145-pound contest took place mostly on the ground, much to the chagrin of the restless crowd.
Over the course of two days, Gray Maynard was cheered in New Jersey and jiu-jitsu was booed in Brazil. Go figure.
"Marajo" was able to keep his keister from being planted in the final frame, but his intermittent striking drew a chorus of groans from the rabid fans in attendance. Whether it was the floor or the feet, there was no place to hide from the Brazilian boo birds.
Hitchcock would have been proud.
In the end, a busy third round from Alcantara wasn't enough to save him from a unanimous decision loss to "Barnabe," who extends his winning streak to nine and improves to 21-1 overall. And who said the featherweight division was running out of contenders?
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC 147: "Silva vs. Franklin 2" in the comments section below.
Did the UFC 147 fight card, panned for its lack of depth, silence the critics with a night of great fights? Or was it still only FX worthy? How close is Fabricio Werdum to a heavyweight title shot? Is Wanderlei Silva the victim of poor gameplanning? Or guilty of underperforming? Who was the more impressive TUF champ?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC 147 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Silva vs. Franklin 2" event right here. Last, and certainly not least, check out our complete UFC 147 results recap of the Facebook/FX "Prelims" right here.