Michael Bisping needed a victory to keep himself relevant in the UFC’s middleweight title picture, and that he did in the main event of UFC Fight Night 48 in Macao. Bisping put on a near flawless performance against his opponent Cung Le over four rounds of pure stand up action—allowing Bisping to showcase his technical striking throughout.
Bisping got into a groove and found his rhythm late in the first round, a momentum that he would not relinquish throughout the rest of the fight. Bisping never let his foot of the gas pedal against Le on the feet, continuing to throw combinations and use his footwork and head movement to some of Le’s powerful strikes.
The biggest moment in the fight came in the 2nd round when Bisping landed a short punch on the right eye of Cung Le that forced him to back pedal and blurred his vision—allowing Bisping to capitalize on the situation and really take control of the fight. Le in the heat of the moment thought it was an eye poke, but it was later confirmed by the commentary team that it was indeed a punch to the eye.
Commenting at the post-fight press conference, Bisping had no doubt that the punch was not an eye poke.
“100% it was a clean blow, I felt it on my knuckle,” Bisping said. “It wasn’t an eye poke, far from it. You can clearly see I was beating him to the punch all night.”
That same punch forced the closure of Le’s right eye quickly, and caused a pause in the action for the doctor to check on him in the second. Bisping thought the fight ‘absolutely’ should’ve been stopped then, but also has respect for Cung Le and knows that he is a warrior and would continue to fight.
The finish came early in the fourth round, when Michael Bisping unleashed a variety of punches and kicks on a badly damaged Le—with both eyes swollen, in a couple of accurate combinations and put Cung Le away with a knee in the clinch.
“I was using my jabs and my straight rights to break him down. And then when I knew he was more worn down and wasn’t too much danger to me, I started mixing the hooks, the body shots, the uppercuts, and looking for the finish.”
Many were claiming this as a must-win fight for Michael Bisping if he were to have any chance at a future UFC middleweight title shot, Bisping himself called it a must-in.
“This was a very important fight for me. I had to win this fight, simple as that.”
Michael Bisping called out long-time rival, Luke Rockhold post-fight as the opponent he wants next. And he also has his eyes set on the title in 2015.
“What do I want? I want the title,” Bisping told Kenny Florian post-fight. “There’s an idiot called 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, then take the title, make no mistake.”
Adding on to his call out of Luke Rockhold, Bisping compared him to a ‘lanky streak of p–s’.
“I’m in no position right now to be calling out the champion. I never understand why people call me out, I’m like the #5, 6 guy whatever. If I call someone out, I’m going to call out the champion, I’m not in the position to do that right now. I’ve got to build on tonight, whoever they want me to fight I’ll fight. And if that lanky streak of piss wants to get it on, I have no problem.”