Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le: A Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le: A Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    Michael Bisping and Cung Le will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 48 this Saturday from Macau.

    Bisping, the No. 8-ranked middleweight contender, will try to rebound after losing to Tim Kennedy earlier this year. Le has not fought since 2012 when he went 2-0 against Patrick Cote and Rich Franklin.

    The English middleweight needs a win to make one last run up the contender ladder, but Le will try to add another victory to his resume as his career dwindles down in his twilight years as an athlete. The two love to stand and exchange, which should provide fireworks for the fans in attendance.

    The fight airs exclusively on UFC Fight Pass with a morning start time for the American audience. The main card kicks off at 9 a.m. ET.

    This should be an exciting matchup in the 185-pound division. Let's break down the action that will come your way this weekend.

Striking

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    Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    The striking battle between Bisping and Le will be very interesting to watch.

    Le has more to his arsenal. He is a flashy striker with knockout power. Bisping, on the other hand, is a volume striker who primarily uses his boxing.

    The Brit does throw some kicks but not too many.

    Bisping has all of the tools to create problems for Le standing, but I'll still give Le the edge. With a few more tools to work with and more power, Le has his biggest opportunity to win the fight while on the feet. Bisping does not want to end up like Rich Franklin.

    Le's versatility and power give him the edge.

    Edge: Le

Grappling

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    The grappling aspect of this fight is closer than most realize.

    Le's Sanshou background has given him plenty of useful skills to take down his opponent. We were witness to several throws while he was in Strikeforce.

    Bisping has developed his wrestling continually in MMA, but he is still not a great wrestler.

    Their offensive grappling is fairly even, but defensively Bisping is a superior grappler. He has good balance on his feet, and once on the mat he is able to quickly pop back up. If an opponent is able to keep him down, he is able to avoid danger.

    While their offensive grappling is comparable, the defensive side gives an advantage to Bisping.

    Edge: Bisping

Submissions

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    If there is one thing fans and pundits won't be expecting, it is a submission.

    Bisping has never submitted anyone inside the Octagon. His last submission was his final non-UFC bout back in 2005. Le has never submitted anyone in his MMA career.

    Both men have the knowledge to submit their opponent, but they are not submission stylists in the slightest.

    Bisping has at least shown the ability to lock in a submission in an MMA contest. I'll side with the proven commodity and not take a chance on Le.

    Edge: Bisping

X-Factors

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    Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Bisping's X-Factor: Striking Defense

    Bisping's career striking defense stands at 69 percent. However, in his last outing against Tim Kennedy, he was hit a lot. Was that due to coming off an eye injury, or was that credit to Kennedy's work? The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

    Kennedy landed 51 significant strikes throughout the fight. Can Le replicate that feat?

    If Bisping shows that his defense is back up to where it has been throughout his career, he can likely weather most of Le's storm.

     

    Le's X-Factor: Cardio

    Le has never had much cardio, but he will certainly need to have it against Bisping.

    Bisping is a volume and pressure fighter. He wears fighters down, and he has 25 minutes to work with this weekend. He can drag Le into deep water—somewhere he has not been in his career.

    If Le gasses early, then this becomes a very easy fight for Bisping.

Prediction

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    If Le is going to win this fight, he'll have to do it early, and I cannot envision how that happens against Bisping.

    Bisping is tough, but more importantly he has good defense. Even if he loses the opening round, he won't put himself in much danger of being finished. He will make Le work, and therein lies the problem for Le.

    Bisping's volume and pressure will tire him out quickly. Bisping will take over the fight. Le has five to seven minutes to win the fight. Bisping will either rack up points en route to a clean-cut decision or finish the fight.

    I lean toward the latter.

    A tired Le will wilt. Bisping takes a takedown in the second round and delivers ground-and-pound until the referee stops the action.

    Prediction: Bisping defeats Le by TKO in the second round

     

    All stats provided by FightMetric.