UFC/WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le, taking place Saturday, August 23.
That’s right boys and girls, it’s time for another Chinese version of the Downes Side! Unlike your local restaurant, though, the sustenance I give you lasts far longer than 20 minutes.
If you’re hungry for fights, the UFC has you set with Fight Night Macao live from the CotaiArena. The main event of the evening features a middleweight clash between Michael Bisping and spin kick guru Cung Le. In the co-main event of the night, top 10 welterweights Tyron Woodley and Dong Hyun Kim can get one step closer to a title shot with a win. Prepare for prognostications better than any fortune cookie; it’s fight time!
NING GUANGYOU VS. JIANPING YANG
We open up in the featherweight division with Ning Guangyou and Jianping Yang. Originally scheduled for the inaugural season finale of TUF China, an injury postponement delayed closure to a historic season. A product of the well-known Phuket Top Team, Yang should display the crisp Muay Thai credentials that have made the camp famous. No stranger to striking, Guangyou showcased his KO power against Shih Liang and Rocky Lee to secure his place in the finals.
These two won’t waste any time coming at one another. They’ll eschew the feeling out process and let the leather fly early. Both have shown KO capabilities, but Yang has proven to be the more well-rounded of the two. Not only does he have the offense, but he also showcases better defensive capabilities. The “Tiger” deals damage, but more importantly, he’ll avoid the big shots to lock up the first-round TKO.
ZHANG LIPENG VS. BRENDAN O’REILLY
We move to lightweight for Zhang Lipeng and Brendan O’Reilly. Despite his record, “The Warrior” Zhang showed off his diverse skill set to win the welterweight division of TUF China. He drops down to 155 and brings with him a more powerful skill set. Another TUF veteran, Brendan O’Reilly, makes a weight class drop of his own for his first official UFC fight. A brawler by nature, O’Reilly, mixes in takedowns and ground-and-pound into his arsenal.
This will be a test of physical strength. Both fighters will come straight forward to see who the bigger man is. Unfortunately for Zhang, he won’t be quite big enough. My faith in Brendan isn’t just because his name is Irish sounding, but because he can weather damage. Zhang hasn’t shown the ability to triumph though adversity in the same manner. The Aussie will come out hot and Zhang will relent under the pressure. The “Badger” isn’t known for his finishing power, but he’ll walk away with the second round TKO.
TYRON WOODLEY VS. DONG HYUN KIM
That brings us to the co-main event. Angling for a title shot, “The Chosen One” Tyron Woodley could get one step closer with a win here. Known for his wrestling prowess, Woodley also decimates opponents with his clinch attacks. While he may not be as explosive, Dong Hyun Kim grinds on people more effectively than the guy that brags about his gluten-free lifestyle. Riding a four fight win streak, Kim can break though the gatekeeper glass ceiling with a win here.
Have you ever shattered a glass ceiling? Well, I did, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. There was quite a mess, not to mention the whole heap of blood on the ground. Now that I think of it, that’s a lot like how this fight will turn out. Kim can wear on opponents, but his style won’t be effective against someone like Woodley. The Chosen One will hurt Kim with a mixture of leg kicks and power punches, and then transition to takedown attempts. He won’t put Kim away, but Woodley takes the unanimous decision.
MICHAEL BISPING VS. CUNG LE
Time for the main event! The most hated Brit since we found out what Prince Charles did to Princess Diana, Michael Bisping steps inside the Octagon for the first time since his loss to Tim Kennedy in April. “The Count” still holds out hope for an eventual title shot, and he needs a win to keep that dream alive. A better 42-year-old candidate for Batman than Ben Affleck, Cung Le competes for the first time since his first round KO over Rich Franklin in November 2012. We all know about his penchant for spin kicks, but does he still have the gas tank to compete?
I’ll cut the anticipation -- no he doesn’t. At any age, Le can KO the best in the word. As much as we criticize Bisping for having “pillow hands,” the man knows how to avoid absorbing damage. If you look at his last three losses, they’ve been against Tim Kennedy, Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen. Le doesn't have the grappling ability of Sonnen and Kennedy, and doesn’t have the explosiveness of Belfort. Bisping weathers the early damage, but he’ll eventually find a way around Le’s attack. Once that happens, he’ll close the distance, bring the fight to the ground and take the decision victory.
That wraps up another hearty portion of the Downes Side. Follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes. Also, dont forget to leave your own thoughts, comments, queries and favorite Chinese dishes on the page here. I’ll start with Kung Pao Chicken.
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