UFC Fight Night 48: “Bisping vs. Le” takes place at Venetian Cotai Arena in Macau, China, and in the main event, Michael Bisping will be looking to shrug off his latest loss when he takes on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le. Check out our preview for the much-anticipated middleweight match up below.
The stage is set for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as it returns to Asia for UFC Fight Night 48: "Bisping vs. Le," which takes place in just a few hours (Sat., Aug. 23, 2014) from inside Venetian Cotai Arena in Macau, China.
Middleweight sluggers collide in the UFC Fight Pass main event, as Michael Bisping will be looking to topple occasional UFC combatant, Cung Le. The Englishman is coming off a lopsided loss to Tim Kennedy at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale back in April.
Le, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, hasn't fought in almost two years, but his last performance was a doozy, since the mixed martial arts (MMA) standout knocked out UFC legend Rich Franklin in the opening round.
As contenders continue to emerge in the 185-pound division, a win for either veteran would keep them in the hunt alongside a number of combatants itching to get recognition in the title picture.
Let's break down the headliners below:
Michael Bisping (24-6 MMA, 14-6 MMA)
Big Wins: Alan Belcher (UFC 159), Brian Stann (UFC 152), Yoshihiro Akiyama (UFC 120)
Big Losses: Tim Kennedy (TUF: "Nations" Finale), Vitor Belfort (UFC on FX 7), Dan Henderson (UFC 100)
What He Needs To Do In Order To Win: First off, this fight is a do-or-die situation for Bisping. He's come close to acquiring title shots in the promotion, but he's also come up short in the battles he needed to win in order for him to get there. He's 2-3 in his last five, and a long injury layoff didn't help before Kennedy mauled him on the ground north of the border.
Still, he's one of the better fighters in the middleweight class, able to put forth a good performance against anyone, but there is a murder's row of contenders on the rise. Most of his UFC wins are against guys who aren't even active fighters under the Zuffa banner.
Now, since Bisping is favored, it seems as if some are expecting his boxing to do the deed. He's quick on the feet, and his combinations are rather slick. When he's on, the Brit can dissect an opponent by hitting him in all areas of the body, but he's also susceptible to being hit, too. Bisping is good at closing distance, but a wild striker can throw him off-guard. Better yet, a powerful puncher will hurt him early, and stifle him as the fight goes on.
He needs to keep it simple, and push the pace. If Le is forced to fight his fight, the victory could be there. But connecting with punches in bunches is definitely a must.
What He Needs To Avoid: It didn't take a neurologist to figure out Bisping has trouble against good grapplers, so he's going to have to stuff Le's takedown attempts (if there are any). He's got a good chance to win the fight if his standup is crisp, yet getting into a Muay Thai or straight kickboxing match like Frank Shamrock did against Le in 2008 would be pretty asinine.
That said, Bisping needs to be extremely careful when it comes to counters. He gets hit a little too often in his fights, and after he's been decked with some powerful shots, he seems to lose control of the bout. After all, Franklin was doing well against the southpaw until Le cracked him with a devastating punch to end his career for the time being.
Cung Le (9-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC)
Big Wins: Rich Franklin (UFC on Fuel TV 6), Patrick Cote (UFC 148), Frank Shamrock (Strikeforce: "Shamrock vs. Le")
Big Losses: Wanderlei Silva (UFC 139), Scott Smith (Strikeforce: "Evolution")
What He Needs To Do In Order To Win: It should be mentioned that the 42- year-old Vietnamese-American avenged the loss to Scott Smith months later, and the only other blemish on his record was courtesy of Wanderlei Silva.
But does the kickboxing standout still have what it takes to dethrone the best fighters in the world?
It's no secret Le will be utilizing plenty of kicks in this fight, which he should. He also has the power to turn anyone's lights out with one blow, sometimes adding a little bit of flashiness to his repertoire.
Also, Le has good grappling skills (as well as good takedown defense); therefore, bringing Bisping to the mat wouldn't be such a bad idea. Though the decorated martial artist is quite stubborn in that regard, since he would rather exchange punches for 15 minutes.
If he can move out of the way of Bisping's hardest shots and unleash combinations full of straights, hooks, and kicks from all angles, it could be a successful evening for a fighter returning to his home continent.
What He Needs To Avoid: When his deadly counters can't find a home, Le doesn't really adjust well to flurries. Bisping may not have the same power that "The Axe Murderer" possesses, yet that was an example of how Le stumbles when being hit too often.
He's also a bit of a slow starter, which could favor Bisping if the latter establishes his gameplan early on. You also have to wonder how he's going to respond after being inactive for almost two years. Le tires easily in fights, and if the battle rages on past the third round, you sort of have to favor the Englishman who has adapted to cardio quite well.
If Le can't send a message to Bisping in the first round and looks for the knockout blow that isn't there, he could be in trouble.
Final Assessment: Macau's main event should be a decent fight, and it's a tad difficult to predict the outcome. Bisping may be the safer bet, but if Le catches him with a real stinger, he could emerge victorious in an emphatic way.
Since both fighters are more or less on the outside looking in when it comes to the title, this is somewhat of a crossroads fight for both combatants. Le may not have much to prove if he loses decisively, and Bisping could very well hang up the gloves if his opponent destroys him.
It's a bout with little to gain, yet a lot to lose for the Englishman, with Le in the same boat, too.
All in all, you should wake up a little earlier to catch this one.
If you're looking for UFC Fight Night 48 live results, we'll have them streaming in real-time on fight night as soon as the action begins to flow. And, once again, the gang at SB Nation is going to handle the event play-by-play right here.
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