Working to collect a TKO finish, Wanderlei Silva went for it all when he had Rich Franklin injured towards the end of the second round of their fight last night, in UFC 147.
The experienced Brazilian was extremely close to collecting the stoppage win when he dropped Franklin with powerful right hands, but he was unable to finish the very game American.
Instead, Franklin was saved by the bell and was able to regroup, outstriking Silva in a standup battle the rest of the fight.
After the second-round melee against Franklin, it looked like Silva gassed himself out, and for the rest of the fight he didn’t have the same type of tempo.
It was interesting to see how the third round started, because if Silva had anything left, that would have been the best time to step up the pace and see if Franklin would crack.
However, Franklin was able to find his range and regain his rhythm without Silva's being able to increase the ferociousness of the pace again.
Through the next three rounds, Franklin seemed to be on autopilot, able to out-strike Silva in a back-and-forth fight. Franklin utilized good footwork and jab-and-boxing combinations to frustrate Silva and keep the Brazilian off balance.
Until the late fifth round, Silva had a sluggish striking style and was unable to come close to finishing the fight again.
In the closing minutes of the fight, when Silva decided to throw caution to the wind and brawl, Franklin was able to stun the Brazilian at the bell.
I’m impressed that both fighters were able to make it through all five rounds, but I’m not sure if Silva has anything left in his gas tank.
He’s still very interested in fighting and clearly has a desire to fight for his fans when he’s inside the cage. Also aiding him is that he still clearly has an instinct to pounce when he thinks he's close to finishing an opponent.
However, he gassed himself trying to finish Franklin and was never really able to recover over the subsequent three rounds.
If he puts everything he has into a three-round fight, I’m not convinced he’ll be able to withstand a heavy amount of punishment and still provide a high level of offense against an opponent.
This puts Silva in a very confusing position as his legendary MMA fight careers draws closer to a finish.
Dana White said a rematch with Vitor Belfort seems unlikely right now, even though both fighters served as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. However, Silva seems anxious to fight in Brazil again, and he likely earned another chance to fight.
So we’ll have to see what the UFC wants to do with him.