Facing arguably a must-win situation in his prizefighting career, Michael Bisping issued a dominating statement by battering a hapless Cung Le to score a fourth-round stoppage in the main event of UFC Fight Night 48 on Saturday night, August 23 at the Venetian Hotel’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China.
Bisping dissected the former Strikeforce middleweight champion in the first three periods before finishing him with an onslaught of punches and a knee strike in the fourth frame.
The 35-year-old Englishman showcased his volume striking, deft footwork, and persistent cardio in what amounted to a stand-up clinic against a dangerous striker in Le.
In a bout that looked more like a kickboxing match than a mixed martial arts (MMA) contest, a well-placed left jab in the second round resulted in the closing of Le’s right eye and left him vulnerable to subsequent attacks.
By the end of the round, Le was bleeding badly from the nose and sported a cut over his left eye, forcing the referee to call the cageside physician to examine the atrocious damage.
With a clear sense of urgency, Le came out like a surging ox at the start of the third round, where the 42-year-old sanshou practitioner was efficient in spurts, predominantly with kicks to the body and right hooks to the head, but he could not mount enough offense to keep Bisping at bay.
Less than a minute into the fourth round, Bisping wasted no time as he unleashed a steady stream of punches to the midsection that sent his opponent reeling inside the Octagon.
“The Count” punctuated the barrage with a left hook to the body along the fence before delivering a thunderous knee to the head that planted Le on his back, coercing the cage middleman to wave it off at the 0:57 mark of round four.
Picking up his first win since an extended injury layoff in 2013, Bisping (25-6) earns his 15th career victory under the UFC banner, which moves him into a tie for sixth-most all time with Tito Ortiz and Josh Koscheck .
"I took some time off and I had some problems. Tonight is what I'm capable of and, believe me, I'm capable of better,” Bisping said in his post-fight interview.
Bisping asserted that he has not given up his desire to vie for a world title before calling out fellow middleweight contender Luke Rockhold as a potential foe in his next outing.
“I want to be world champion. I know I have the tools, but you have to back it up. This is backing it up,” he declared. “Luke Rockhold, you called me out. If you want it, let’s dance. I’m going to beat Luke Rockhold and then I’m coming for the title.”
On the other hand, Le suffers his first defeat since November 2011 and downgrades his MMA record to 9-3.
"I gave it my all. Michael was the better man tonight. He hit me with some good shots and closed my eye up. I couldn't see. He mounted a good offense," Le admitted.
In the co-headliner, Tyron Woodley (14-3) dispatched Dong Hyun Kim (19-3-1) in just 61 seconds of their welterweight showdown.
Woodley used Kim’s aggression against him as the American Top Team representative countered a spinning back elbow from the Korean stalwart with a ringing right hand behind the ear.
A stunned Kim collapsed to the canvas, where he received a flurry of eye-catching rights and lefts from Woodley that led referee Leon Roberts to halt the action. - Rappler.com