We’ve all got another UFC double-header for us to wallow in this weekend and it starts in Macau, China with Michael Bisping and Cung Le headlining the Fight Pass event. Other than the Dong Hyun Kim – Tyron Woodley match-up in the co-main, the evening has a very local feel and is populated by many fixtures of the Asian MMA scene without a Wikipedia page, but never judge a card on paper.
Now, on with the preview.
(#8) Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le – 185lbs.
Currently undergoing a career worst stretch of form having alternated wins and losses in his past six bouts, Michael Bisping will be eager to get back on track with a win over the 42 year old Cung Le, with his last performance being a deflating decision defeat to Tim Kennedy. A former kickboxing world champion, Le has not fought in the UFC since November 2012 when he KO’d Rich Franklin, having defeated Patrick Côté previously.
This is a big fight for Bisping. Win and he can cling on to the hope of one last run at the gold; lose and the dream is over, there would be no coming back from this. Luckily for Bisping, this one should be fairly straightforward. With his one-dimensional fighting style coupled with his long bouts of inactivity whilst in his advanced years, Le seems the perfect bait for a bruised, but not battered, Bisping. Bisping will steer clear of early trouble and outwork Le to a late finish.
Prediction – Bisping via KO/TKO
(#10) Dong Hyun Kim vs. (#4) Tyron Woodley – 170lbs.
Originally slated to face Hector Lombard before Lombard withdrew from the bout through injury, Dong Hyun Kim now faces Tyron Woodley to see which welterweight can break out of the middle of the division and look to mount a title charge. Kim has looked as good as he ever did in his last two bouts, both KO victories over Erick Silva and John Hathaway, whereas Woodley was at peak performance, right up until he froze in his last bout and dropped a one-sided decision to Rory MacDonald. Both men are wrestlers with dynamite in their hands, but I expect Kim to be the smarter of the two and look to work the grappling exchanges rather than go headhunting. Woodley could well clock Kim early when he’s at his most violent, but I see Kim methodically wearing Woodley down.
Prediction – Kim via decision
Zhang Lipeng vs. Brendan O’Reilly – 155lbs.
In a battle of former TUF competitors, both Lipeng (TUF:China) and O’Reilly (TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia) will both be dropping down to the lightweight division, having competed at welterweight for their individual TUF experiences. While O’Reilly crashed out at the first stage of his TUF journey, Lipeng would go on to triumph in his bracket, taking the TUF:China welterweight crown. Lipeng is a fairly suffocating grappler, but not quite competent enough to blanket the bigger man in O’Reilly, who should be able to stay out of trouble long enough to boss the fight.
Prediction – O’Reilly via decision
Ning Guangyou vs. Yang Jianping – 145lbs.
Originally scheduled for The Ultimate Fighter China: Finale back in March, but delayed as a result of an injury to Jianping, this battle of Guangyou vs. Jianping will be the featherweight final from that particular international installment of the TUF franchise. I bet you’ve all been on tenterhooks to see who will eventually be crowned the winner of this tournament, right? Yeah, me too. To be perfectly honest, I know very little about these two other than their records, of which, Jianping (6-3-1) takes Guangyou (3-2-1) and their performances on TUF, where Jianping looked the more diverse and impressive.
Prediction – Jianping via decision