Silva admitted he tired himself out going in for the kill.
“Yes, I did,” Silva said through his translator. “I think I pushed it too much. I really wanted to knock him out.
“I thought I was going to knock him out. Sorry I couldn't.”
Franklin regained his rhythm in the third, applying steady pressure with his jab and left-straight. A now hesitant Silva lumbered forward, eating punches.
The former PRIDE champion finally came alive in the final minute and began slugging it out, but got dropped by a straight left for his trouble.
Franklin admitted he has his eyes set on regaining the UFC middleweight championship.
“The idea was to move down (from light-heavyweight) and make a title run before I retire,” the 37 year old said. “I'm getting up there in years.”
The two originally met at UFC 99 three years ago in a bout that saw Franklin win a unanimous decision.
Belfort's top pick Cezar (Mutante) Ferreira won an exciting stand-up battle with Team Wanderlei's Sergio (Serginho) Moraes to capture the TUF: Brazil middleweight tournament crown in the co-main event.
Though Ferreira had superior striking on paper, Moraes gave him more than enough trouble throughout the bout's 15-minute duration.
The second round saw Ferreira wobble Moraes with a capoeira spinning-wheel kick. Moraes turned the tables, however, catching Ferreira with a slick counter elbow. The four-time Brazilian jiu jitsu world champion went in for the finish, but Ferreira managed to recover.
Moraes hurt Ferreira with the exact same elbow strike in the third, but was dropped by a straight-left moments later.
“I'm very honoured and pleased to be here,” Ferreira said through his translator. “This is what I've been training and fighting for.”
Moraes suffered a knockout loss to Team Vitor's Daniel Sarafian in the semifinals, but gained entry to the finals after Sarafian required bicep surgery.
Rony (Jason) Mariano Bezerra won the TUF: Brazil featherweight tourney, snagging a unanimous decision over his Team Wanderlei teammate Godofredo (Pepey) de Oliveira in a bizarre bout.
Bezerra's superior striking won him the fight, but he had to deal with some odd tactics from de Oliveira.
When he wasn't flailing his arms around, throwing wild punches, de Oliveira pulled guard, but never really threatened with submissions. Instead he worked in strikes from the bottom, many of which landed illegally to the back of Bezerra's head. Later in the fight, de Oliveira delivered a pair of accidental low blows.
“This is great honour,” Bezerra said. “I went hungry many times and slept without a home. I want to thank my team. I showed if you have a dream, you can go out and make it happen.”
Fabricio (Vai Cavalo) Werdum took another step towards a heavyweight title shot, earning a TKO victory over Mike Russow.
An NCAA Division I wrestler, Russow clearly wanted no part of Werdum's ground game, opting to stand and trade instead.
It didn't work out for him.
After dropping Russow with a well-timed uppercut, Werdum pounced with punches and hammerfists, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.
“I'm training a lot in Muay Thai and just want everyone to know how happy I am,” Werdum said through a translator. “I live in L.A., but fighting in Brazil makes me very happy.”
Following the bout, Werdum called out heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, who was in attendance.
“Cigano, I'm here,” Werdum began. “I know he's the champion, but I'm ready for him.”
Dos Santos knocked Werdum out at UFC 90 in his octagon debut more than three years ago.
It wasn't pretty, but Hacran Dias won a unanimous decision in his UFC debut, snapping Yuri Alcantara's 13-fight win streak in the process.
The final preliminary fight saw Rodrigo Damm submit Anistavio Medeiros de Figueiredo with a rear-naked choke in a battle of Team Vitor featherweights.
Damm was supposed to compete in the semifinals against Godofredo (Pepey) de Oliveira, but was forced out of the bout after suffering kidney damage while cutting weight.
Team Wanderlei's Francisco Trinaldo earned an impressive first-round TKO victory over Team Vitor's Delson Heleno.
Team Vitor's Hugo (Wolverine) Viana won a very close split decision over Team Wanderlei's John (Macapa) Teixeira da Conceicao.
Team Vitor's Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo put Team Wanderlei's Leonardo Mafra Teixeira away with strikes.
Team Vitor's Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini scored a thrilling come-from-behind win against Team Wanderlei's Wagner Campos.
Felipe Arantes and Milton Vieira went to a split draw in the opening bout.
UFC 147 RESULTS
Rich Franklin def. Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Cezar Ferreira def. Sergio Moraes via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Godofredo de Oliveira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Fabricio Werdum def. Mike Russow via first-round TKO (punches)
Hacran Dias def. Yuri Alcantara via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)