Michael Bisping outstruck and outlanded Cung Le for three rounds before finally finishing off the former Strikeforce middleweight champion with a knee strike and punches in the fourth round of their main event bout at UFC Fight Night in China on Saturday.
Coming into the fight, Bisping was teetering on the edge between another run towards the top of the middleweight division or being resigned to gatekeeper status following an ugly loss to Tim Kennedy in his last trip to the Octagon.
Bisping didn’t disappoint in any way as he came out aggressive against Le from the opening bell and put a hurting on the 42-year Vietnam native with a high-volume, striking attack that he had no answer for until the fight ended in the 16th minute.
In the early going, Bisping ripped Le’s face with a number of combinations, but it was a simple jab that eventually popped the former champion in the eye that did the most damage. Le was wincing while trying to motion to the referee that he received a poke, but the replay showed that it was nothing more than a clean punch from Bisping that landed directly in his eye.
The assault continued in the next two rounds with Bisping opening up two and three punch combinations and often times ending it with a kick, which was the signature move of his opponent heading into the fight. A second cut that opened on Le’s face further restricted his vision and it seemed like just a matter of time before Bisping found the opening to put a stop to the bout.
The fourth round started and Bisping knew he had Le in trouble. The British fighter slammed his left knee right up the middle when he engaged Le and that was all it took to send his opponent crashing to the mat in a heap. Bisping followed up as Le rolled to his side to avoid any further damage and the referee saw enough to stop the punishment before things got any worse.
The victory came at just 57 seconds into the fourth round in what has to be one of Bisping’s best fights over the last couple of years. Following the win, the outspoken Brit wasted no time launching into a title-fight tirade while also officially calling out the fighter who he believes should be his next opponent.
"This is what I’m capable of and I’m capable of better," Bisping stated. "I want the title. There’s an idiot named Luke Rockhold who doesn’t stop talking about me. I think he’s got the hots for me to be honest. I’m going to beat Luke Rockhold and then I’m taking the title."
While rumors have placed Rockhold in a potential bout this November against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, there’s no denying the heat in matching him up against Bisping instead. While he may not have the ranking that Machida does in the division, Bisping and Rockhold have a history together that could make sparks fly and sell tickets for whichever event the would land on.
As for Le, when the cameras zoomed in on the veteran middleweight after the fight it showed the damage his face took courtesy of Bisping’s constant attacks. It was a one-sided fight and a tough loss for the veteran fighter, but the fans in China certainly stood by Le whether he was the biggest winner or fell short as he did on Saturday night.
Full results from UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le
Michael Bisping def. Cung Le by TKO at :57 seconds, R4
Tyron Woodley def. Dong Hyun Kim by TKO (strikes) at 1:01, R1