The main event of the UFC 147: "Silva vs. Franklin 2" fight card that took place last night (Sat., June 23, 2012) from the Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, featured a rematch tree years in the making, as Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva went at it once more.
The two first met back at UFC 99 in June 2009 in Germany, where "Ace" squeaked out a unanimous decision victory over "The Axe Murderer." Their paths weren't expected to cross again but they did and the Brazilian got his chance to even the score tonight in his home country.
It didn't happen.
That's because Franklin was too technical, too smart, and too much for Silva to overcome. Wanderlei teased a big "Axe Murderer" finish in the second with a flurry that had the former math teacher seeing stars, but Rich survived and ultimately cruised the rest of the way.
The judges awarded Franklin the victory via unanimous decision on scores of 49-46 across the board.
Wanderlei circled around early, with Franklin cutting him off. The first significant strike of the bout came one minute in when Silva countered a kick with a hard right hand down the pipe that landed clean.
Silva threw a kick not long after that Franklin caught and landed a few punches on. "Ace" pushed ahead and started landing some crisp shots that looked to bother the Brazilian.
Franklin continued pushing Silva down, but "The Axe Murderer" had a response for him -- head kicks. It didn't necessarily serve to keep Rich at bay but it worked to put him on notice.
Round two began with Franklin pawing a jab. Silva, meanwhile, was looking to kick some more, to little success.
Franklin remained the aggressor, walking Wanderlei down until he cut off the cage enough to unload punches. Silva answered in kind, winging those wild punches he's so famous for.
He decided to get super aggressive then and swarmed Franklin with shots with increasing success. He landed big on a rush and then followed through with another that earned him a big knee from the Thai Plum.
Next, he dropped Franklin with a big right hand. Amazingly enough, Franklin managed to make it to the bell without getting finished but it was VERY close.
Silva was much slower at the start of the third. Franklin, for his part, looked refreshed and back in the fight after coming so close to getting slept just minutes before.
The pace was considerably slower, actually, and that's likely because this one was scheduled for five rounds and 25 minutes. Rest and recovery is crucial, even if it has to come at the expense of a round going to the wayside.
Franklin poured it on late, advancing position on a takedown and closing the round with big shots from top. It was clearly his round and Silva looked gassed.
The fourth round looked largely the same. Silva looked tired, hoping to find a good spot to land a big punch to end the fight. Franklin, on the other hand, looked okay, not fresh but not running on an empty tank.
After four -- and a nutshot -- it was all Franklin, save for that second round.
The fifth round mirrored the third and fourth. Franklin continued working a stiff jab while Silva simply stood there looking gassed. The calls to go for it were there but the energy simply wasn't.
The commentators tried to keep some semblance of suspense that Wanderlei would unleash with a flurry at some point and it happened with one minute remaining. He rushed in, looking to land a wild haymaker. It didn't happen, though.
That meant "Ace" went back to the states with the decision victory and the 2-0 advantage in the series.
Bye bye, Brazil.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's complete coverage of the UFC 147 event by clicking here.