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MMA: Bisping praises ‘warrior’ Le, while Phillips left fuming in Macau

Cung Le kicks Michael Bisping in a bloody headline bout at UFC Fight Night Macao. Photo: The Venetian Macao.

Cung Le, 42, kicks Michael Bisping, 35, in a bloody headline bout at UFC Fight Night Macao. Photo: The Venetian Macao.

August 24, 2014: Michael Bisping paid tribute to Cung Le’s ‘warrior’ spirit after stopping the blood-soaked 42-year-old in the fourth round of UFC Fight Night Macao’s main event at The Venetian.


The English middleweight cut his opponent’s eye with a left jab early in the second round, causing blood to pour into Le’s eyes and affect his vision for the rest of the fight, with the referee briefly halting the bout so the doctor could check.


Despite looking like he would stop fighting, Le courageously decided to carry on, although his eyes went on to swell and bleed further as Bisping increasingly dominated the fight before eventually securing a TKO early in the fourth round.


“This was a very important fight for me. I had to win this fight, as simple as that. Of course, I wanted a stoppage as well. He was a tough opponent. Every time he threw a kick, I’d block it, but it kept me honest because I thought, wow, if one of those connected I’d be in trouble,” said Bisping, who had lost three of his five previous fights, most recently to Tim Kennedy.


“All my training paid off and I felt sharp, I felt loose. To be honest, when I was training for Mark Munoz, everything started coming together, but I had to drop out with my eye injury. Then, in the Tim Kennedy fight, I never got the chance to display anything because I got outwrestled and held down.”


Bisping and Le after their brutal battle, with the 42-year-old American always struggling after suffering a cut eye early in the second round. Photo: The Venetian Macao.

Bisping embraces Le after their brutal bout in Macau, where the 42-year-old American battled on after suffering a cut eye early in the second round that hampered his vision. Photo: The Venetian Macao.

Bisping said he was convinced that Le would continue to fight even after the doctor’s inspection, despite the American often struggling to see a fired-up opponent able to use his full range of weapons inside the Cotai Arena octagon.


“I 100 per cent expected him to continue. I really respect Cung Le. I hit him with some good shots and we all saw there was a lot of blood and he was kind of bust-up, but he was still in that fight,” Bisping said.


“He’d start every round hard and throw some good punches that kept me honest. I knew that if I made a mistake, let me guard down or get too cocky … it only takes one shot, especially with those small gloves on. I knew being the warrior that he is, that he’d want to continue. There was still plenty of fight left in the guy.”


The main event was an entertaining conclusion to the 10-bout card, especially as both fighters spent the entire fight on their feet, with Bisping able to resist a couple of attempted takedowns by Le.


“I wanted to beat him at his own game. I wanted to give the fans a great fight,” the Englishman said. “In my last fight, the guy took me down and held me down, and it was boring. The crowd was booing. I want to entertain the fans. People want to see a knockout and that’s what I came here to do.


Michael Bisping praised Cung Le after beating the 42-year-old American in the fourth round in Macau. Photo: SportAsia.

Michael Bisping praised Cung Le after beating the 42-year-old American in the fourth round in Macau. Photo: SportAsia.

“I was using my jabs and straight rights to break him down, and then when I knew he was more worn down and he wasn’t too much danger to me, I started mixing in the hooks, the body shots, the upper cuts, and was looking for the finish. He hits hard and has a lot of knockouts to his name, so I had to be careful.”


Bisping followed the fight by talking up a potential showdown with No. 5-ranked contender Luke Rockhold and said it was time to earn a title shot after a stop-start career.


“I’m sure people are sick of me saying I’m one of the best, but losing fights doesn’t go hand in hand with proclaiming to be one of the best, so I needed a good performance and I was happy with that. It was a good win, against a good opponent, but I’ve got to build on that.”


At the other end of the card, Elizabeth Phillips left the octagon cursing after the American lost a split-decision to Milan Dudieva in the night’s opening bout. Phillips’ disappointment was for all to see after she was edged out in a split decision following the women’s bantamweight clash.


Dudieva attacked with some big rights before eventually throwing Phillips to the ground midway through each round, but each time the American used her BJJ to get on top of the Russian, although rarely threatened from above.


“I elbowed strikes, punched on top, and controlled the whole fight,” said Phillips, who has now lost her first two UFC bouts. “I won that fight, plain and simple; I won that fight. I want to know what Milana did to win that fight. This was a really bad call.”


Dudieva, making her UFC debut after establishing a 10-3 record in MMA, said she underperformed, but promised to improve when she next returns to the octagon.


“This was my first big event. This was huge. I was very nervous and tried to cope with it the best that I could,” said the 25-year-old Russian. “I definitely didn’t execute my game plan. I wanted to get that finish. I think everyone does in their first UFC fight and hopefully I’ll be able to do better in my next fight. I’m going to let my win soak in for a few days and get back to work. I work hard because I want to be the best. This is only the beginning.”


UFC Fight Night Macao (August 24, 2014), Cotai Arena, The Venetian, Macau


Prelims (three rounds)

Women’s Bantamweight – Milana Dudieva (RUS) defeats Elizabeth Phillips by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

Bantamweight – Royston Wee (SIN) defeats Yao Zhikui (CHN) by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)

Welterweight – Colby Covington (USA) defeats Wang Anying (CHN) by submission in Round 1 (4:50)

Bantamweight – Yuta Sasaki (JPN) defeats Roland Delorme (CAN) by submission in Round 1 (1:06)

Welterweight – Alberto Mina (BRA) defeats Shinsho Anzai (JPN) by TKO in Round 1 (4:17)

Welterweight – Wang Sai (CHN) defeats Danny Mitchell (ENG) by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)


Main Card (three rounds unless stated)

Featherweight (TUFC Final) – Ning Guangyou (CHN) defeats Yang Jianping (CHN) by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Lightweight – Zhang Lipeng (CHN) defeats Brendan O’Reilly (AUS) by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Welterweight – Tyron Woodley (USA) defeats Kim Dong-hyun (KOR) by TKO in Round 1 (1:01)

Middleweight (5 Rounds) – Michael Bisping (ENG) defeats Cung Le (USA) by TKO in Round 4 (0:57)


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