Something to Prove in Macao (UFC Fight Night 48 Review)

ufc_fn48The UFC sick bay is constantly full with fighters continuing to get injured at a rapid pace and putting many of the events in jeopardy. Just recently one of the biggest fights of the year between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson took a turn for the worst. First Gustafsson was hurt and dropped out of the fight to be replaced by Daniel Cormier. Just as Cormier and Jones were unleashing press conference fights and off-air insults during interviews making the fight still extremely appealing Jon Jones was hurt. The fight was moved to the next year as the UFC waits for Jones to recover but it was a perfect expression of the issues facing the UFC and the fighters. Two fighters that know the issues of injuries are Cung Le and Michael Bisping who both ended long layoffs due to injuries when they stepped in the octagon for UFC Fight Night 48. For Bisping it was an almost year-long layoff that ended in April of this year when he lost to Tim Kennedy. Bisping’s last fight before his April matchup was April 2013 when he beat Alan Belcher. While training for his next fight against Mark Munoz, Bisping suffered an eye injury that would force him to have eye surgery. Multiple eye surgeries later Bisping was out for a full year and had lost any momentum he had gained before the injury. His return against Tim Kennedy was not the way he wanted to make his return from surgery and his fight against Cung Le was a chance to make up of the loss and prove that he is still one of the best in the division. His opponent was in a familiar position although had a much longer layoff as Cung Le stepped into the octagon for the first time in 651 days. The layoff was due to multiple shoulder surgeries and the time that he took to recover. His last fight was a win against Rich Franklin in Macao at UFC on FUEL TV 6 in 2012. It had been a long time since Cung Le had entered the octagon and the biggest worry for many was whether or not the 42-year old still had what it took to compete with the top in the division. Almost two years off is not something to easily recover from especially when the layoff was caused by injury. The recovery from injury does not let a fighter train and stay in fighting shape as they try to take it easy on the issues that they are facing. It is also tough for an older fighter to come back from such a long layoff and continue to fight at the level that they need to in order to make an impact. Both fighters were looking to make their way back to the win column and get back on track after their injuries as they headlined another fight night in Macao. The fight itself looked as though it could be a good one with two fighters that love to keep the fight standing. There was Bisping who has great boxing and follows the tradition of many British fighters in his ability to pick his spots and put on a great boxing match. Meanwhile Cung Le was a much more creative striker with a martial arts background. That background allows Le the ability to throw strikes from any angle while using kicks in the same way. The matchup saw two veteran fighters face-off in need of a win to solidify themselves as key parts to the division giving both fighters plenty to go out and fight for. The fight began just as many expected with both fighters clearly ready to keep the fight standing and never going to the ground. Both fighters started to pick their spots and tried to get the advantage in what looked like it would be a close fight. Then Bisping began to take advantage showing that he had the ability to put together more combinations. Those combinations landed more and more as the fight moved on and they began doing plenty of damage. Le was beginning to get damage around his eyes that caused the doctor to take a look at him multiple times. Eventually the combinations and pace set by Bisping was too much for Le and after Bisping landed a big knee in the fourth it was all over. Le went down and the fight was stopped as the 42-year-old took the loss and will now have some real decisions to make. At the age he is retirement cannot be out fo the questions but if he believes he still has what it takes he may be back fighting a top 15 fighter to try to earn his way into the rankings. For Bisping the win was exactly what he needed after losing to Tim Kennedy earlier this year. After the win Bisping called out Luke Rockhold, who had been calling out Bisping for a while now, as he looks to climb back up into title contention.

Before these two veteran of the UFC faced off in the main event two fighters simply looking to start their UFC careers opened the main card. Jianping Yang and Guangyou Ning were both members of the first ever TUF China reality show as a part of the Featherweight tournament. They made it to the finale but an injury to Yang ended their chance to fight in the finale. So both fighters were left hanging in limbo waiting for their chance to earn a UFC contract and begin a career in the biggest promotion in the world. That opportunity came at UFC Fight Night 48 when both fighters were scheduled as the opening fight on the main card. It was finally time for one of these fighters to earn a spot in the UFC. It was expected to be a ground battle with two fighters that seemed to prefer fighting on the ground, albeit with different styles. With the ground and pound specialist Ning against the submission specialist Yang facing off it was not question that they were looking to take the fight to the mat. That is exactly what happened as both fighters continued to try to take the fight to the ground. The ground was sorely needed in this fight as neither did any damage while standing but despite the takedown attempts neither fighter did a whole lot to convince the UFC that they belong in the promotion. Out of the two Ning did more work and took the Unanimous decision win but it was not an impressive debut in the UFC. Yang will not get the contract and after not putting up much of a fight may not get a chance in the UFC. If he does there needs to be an improvement in his stand-up game or he will not be in the UFC long. Ning took the contract but like Yang needs to improve if he hopes to make an impact in the division as he is clearly not at the level of the other fighters in the division.


Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
The main event was an important fight for both involved and Michael Bisping took full advantage of the opportunity beating Cung Le with a TKO and earning a fight bonus to show that he is still one of the best fighters in the division

Performance of the Night
There was a lot of pressure on Dong Hyun Kim who fought close to home with plenty of fans in the stands but he could not get the win over Tyron Woodley who took home a TKO and some extra money with a Performance of the Night

Performance of the Night
Without a fight of the night the UFC decided to split the pot and add another two Performance of the Night bonuses with one going to Alberto Mina after he earned a TKO win over Shinsho Anzai during the prelims

Performance of the Night
The last bonus of the night would go to Yuta Sasaki who ended his fight with Roland Delorme early finishing the Canadian with a Rear Naked Choke in the first round and earning a Performance of the Night bonus


Fight Results

Main Event:
Michael “The Count” Bisping def. Cung Le
(TKO; Rd. 4)

Main Card:
Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley def. Dong “Stun Gun” Hyun Kim
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Lipeng “The Warrior” Zhang def. Brendan “Badger” O’Reilly
(Unanimous Decision)

Guangyou “Smasher” Ning def. Jianping Yang
(Unanimous Decision)

Wang “The Boss” Sai def. Danny “The Cheesecake Assassin” Mitchell
(Unanimous Decision)

Alberto “Soldier of God” Mina def. Shinsho “Animal” Ansai
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Yuta “Ulka” Sasaki def. “Stunning” Roland Delorme
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

Colby Covington def. Anying Wang
(Submission; Strikes, Rd. 1)

Royston Wee def. Zhikui “The Conqueror” Yao
(Split Decision)

Milana Dudieva def. Elizabeth Phillips
(Split Decision)


Upcoming Events

UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barao II (Saturday August 30th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Main Event: TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan “The Baron” Barão [Bantamweight Title]
Notable: Danny “Last Call” Castillo vs. Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson
Notable: Bethe “Pitbull” Correia vs. Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler

UFC Fight Night 50: Souza vs. Mousasi II (Friday September 5th; 9:00 pm ET)
Ledyard, Connecticut (Foxwoods Resort & Casino)
Main Event: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi
Notable: Alistair “The Reem” Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell
Notable: Matt “Meathead” Mitrione vs. Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis

UFC Fight Night 51: Silva vs. Arlovski (Saturday September 13th; 8:00 pm ET)
Brasilia, Brazil (Ginásio Nilson Nelson)
Main Event: Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski
Notable: Gleison Tibau vs. Piotr “Płetwal” Hallmann
Notable: Leonardo Santos vs. Łukasz “Wookie” Sajewski

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