The UFC Fight Night 48 card is perfectly placed as a Fight Pass exclusive. While most fans know the names of the headliners quite well, Michael "The Count" Bisping and Cung Le aren't exactly near the top of anyone's pound-for-pound list.
This is a card for the hardcore MMA fan, and that's generally who subscribes to UFC Fight Pass.
Expect Le to be the heavy crowd favorite, as the event takes place in Macao, China. The Vietnamese-born Le has served as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter: China, and his last bout was in 2012 at UFC: Macao.
The local crowd is well acquainted with Le and should be behind him in the bout.
The co-feature of the event is the return of Tyron Woodley. After being dismantled in his last bout by Rory MacDonald, Woodley will try to bounce back against South Korean contender Dong Hyun Kim.
Here's a look at the entire card and predictions for each bout. Just beneath the table is a deeper analysis into the top three bouts on tap.
|UFC Fight Night 48 Card and Predictions|
|UFC Fight Pass Prelims at 6 a.m. ET|
|Elizabeth Phillips vs. Milana Dudieva||Women's Bantamweight||Phillips by decision|
|Yao Zhikui vs. Royston Wee||Bantamweight||Wee by submission|
|Wang Anying vs. Colby Covington||Welterweight||Covington by decision|
|Roland Delorme vs. Yuta Sasaki||Welterweight||Sasaki by decision|
|Alberto Mina vs. Shinsho Anzai||Welterweight||Mina by submission|
|Wang Sai vs. Danny Mitchell||Welterweight||Mitchell by submission|
|Main Card at 9 a.m. ET|
|Ning Guangyou vs. Jianping Yang||Featherweight||Yang by KO|
|Zhang Lipeng vs. Brendan O'Reilly||Welterweight||O'Reilly by submission|
|Tyron Woodley vs. Dong Hyun Kim||Welterweight||Woodley by TKO|
|Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le||Middleweight||Le by KO|
|Card per UFC.com, picks by Brian Mazique|
Le Will Stop Bisping
There are similarities between Bisping and Chael Sonnen. Their fighting styles are completely different, but both have more mic skills than Octagon prowess.
Bisping's mouth has earned him shot after shot at glory in the UFC, but he's never been able to come through with the big win. The fact that he's fighting Le—a fighter who hasn't competed since 2012—is proof The Count's career is headed in the wrong direction.
While Le has been inactive, he's kept himself in remarkable shape.
He is 42 years old, but when a fighter stays as fit as Le, he is able to prolong his effectiveness. That's especially the case considering he hasn't taken the lumps that more active fighters have taken in recent years.
At 35, Bisping isn't exactly a spring chicken, and he's endured far more wear and tear. He's lost three of his last five bouts, so this one is huge for his future. Because he still seems to have eyes on contending and Le hasn't committed to making a long-term run in the sport, Bisping has the most to lose.
That dynamic is going to make it all the more crushing when Le lands the combination that sends Bisping reeling. While The Count is known for his boxing skills, Le's short, quick shots have more power, and Bisping's chin has been called into question against Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort.
Look for Le to become the next man to put Bisping down for the count.
Woodley Will Rebound
Originally, Hector Lombard was supposed to face Kim, but an injury forced him out. Woodley was able to step in and give himself an opportunity for a relatively quick turnaround after his humbling loss to MacDonald.
If Woodley faced MacDonald five times, the result would probably be the same. He simply had no answer for MacDonald's length and accurate striking.
However, against Kim, Woodley's speed, explosiveness and power should be enough to score an exciting stoppage victory. Despite a solid grappling base, Kim likes to stand and fight.
Per Kevin Thang of Cage Pages, Kim adopted a more aggressive style to take the next step in his UFC career. Kim said:
I’ve been continuing to stack up some wins, but I wasn’t given the title shot. And I’ve decided that well in order for me to get a title shot I’m going to have to change the way that I fight. So I decided to get much more aggressive and hopefully I’ll get noticed and we’ll get a shot at the title.
Bleacher Report's Matthew Ryder talked about Kim's transformation. He said:
Not that long ago, Dong Hyun Kim was boring. Really boring.
For a guy so thoroughly trained in the art of putting fist to face, he sure could suck the fun out of the process. He was far keener to smother from the top position than he was to execute big throws or beautiful combinations.
After his highlight-reel KO of John Hathaway in March, Kim won't be looking to dial back his aggression. That approach won't serve him well against Woodley.
While Kim will have a similar height advantage to the one MacDonald enjoyed, he isn't as selective as a striker. He attacks with more reckless abandon, and that's not the way to fight Woodley. From a pure athletic standpoint, Woodley is at the top of the list in the UFC.
Kim will likely play right into his hands by being overly aggressive. Woodley will win by TKO after a hard right hand and some ground-and-pound.
The Badger Will Take The Warrior Apart
Zhang "The Warrior" Lipeng will have his home crowd in his corner, but it won't be enough to guide him to a victory. Brendan "The Badger" O'Reilly has the potential to become a contender in the UFC's welterweight division.
He has excellent cardio, stand-up boxing and footwork, and his submission skills are solid.
Lipeng is a decent fighter, but the man from Inner Mongolia has been placed in this spot to appeal to the local crowd. He's getting a tough draw in O'Reilly.
Initially, O'Reilly's striking will prove superior to Lipeng's, but once the fight goes to the ground, The Badger will finish things with a submission win.
Follow Brian Mazique, the Sports and Video Game Journalist.
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