The UFC head to Macau, China for the second time this year, with a card headlined by a contest between renowned middleweights Michael Bisping and Cung Le. Bisping was on the losing end of a decision in his last fight, while Le comes into the fight off a 21-month layoff and looking for his third consecutive win.
In the co main event will be a bout with title implications in the welterweight division, as Dong Hyun Kim searches for an attention grabbing fifth straight victory against the game Tyron Woodley, who stepped in for teammate Hector Lombard. Kim is currently ranked #10 in the 170lbs division, while Woodley holds the #4 spot. While Woodley was unsuccessful in his last Octagon outing, he holds impressive wins over Josh Koscheck, Carlos Condit and Tarec Saffiedine.
The card will be aired on UFC Fight Pass, and is the first of two UFC events scheduled for Saturday alongside the UFC Fight Night 49 card, which is headlined by a bout between Benson Henderson and Rafael Dos Anjos. Keep up to date on all of the coverage for both of the events here on Cage Pages.
This article will contain play-by-play coverage for every single bout on the card, update on a round-by-round basis.
Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le
Bisping has lost three in his last five, but has never lost twice in a row – could Cung Le be the first fighter to do so? He comes in after a lacklustre fight with Tim Kennedy. Le hasn’t fought since his highlight reel KO over Rich Franklin in November 2012. Le looking for a third straight win against the man ranked #8 in the 185lbs division. Le is a +250 underdog for this fight scheduled for 5 rounds.
Round 1 - Le opening with a kick to the body, missing. Le with a leg kick and ducking under the counter of Bisping, who gets in a leg kick of his own. Sharp right from Le, then a body kick. Leg kick from ‘The Count’. Bisping with a nice combination as he presses forward. Le comes forward and lands a body kick, but good short right from Bisping. Straight right to the body from Le. Spinning attack by Le, but they collide heads. Short left by Cung. Bisping with a spinning back kick. Le doing a good job at dodging the combinations of Bisping, and he lands up high with the kick. Good leg kick at the end of that combination from Le. Body kick from Le, that may have hurt Bisping. High kick lands for Bisping, but a body shot by Le. Good slip and rip from the Brit, then a nice jab and a leg kick. Kick to the body from Le, and again. Short combination from Bisping. A sneaky right jab. Leg kick and a short right by Bisping. Good punching combination from ‘The Count’. Good short right there. A lot of volume from Bisping. He got caught to the cup from Le. They resume almost immediately. Le trying to land the side kick, but Bisping slips just out of range. Good flick kick from Bisping. Jab then a leg kick by the Brit. Body kick by Le, but good left counter by Bisping. Right hook lands for Le. Huge left hook lands for Bisping, who just avoids Le’s attack. A good, close round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Bisping.
Round 2 - Bisping attacking the body. Le presses forward and lands the side kick. He misses on the spin and Bisping lands a combination. Big body kick but Bisping catches it, failing to capitalise. Bisping tries to go up high. Good combination from Bisping, who’s backing Le up. Le is squinting. Possibly an accidental eye poke.Le is bloodied also. Right jab lands for Bisping, who lands two punches then a high kick. Good combinations from Bisping, who is hurting Le with these combinations. Beautiful combination by Bisping, who finishes with the spinning back kick. It was a punch that hurt Le’s eye. Le is bleeding like crazy! Bisping with great combinations. Le lands to the body but Bisping counters. Straight right by MB. A four-punch combo from Bisping. The referee steps in to get the doctor check the eye. They resume the action. It was a left counter that caused the problems to Le. Bisping has a ton of momentum now, but eats a spinning back kick. Great combination from Michael, who finishes with a spinning back kick to the body. Le with a right hook as Bisping presses forward. Bisping doubles up on the jab. Body kick by Le, but Bisping counters. Another one to the body from Cung. Short left by Bisping, who ducks below Le’s counters. The side kick hits Bisping in the cup, causing a brief stoppage to the action. Le missing with that spinning combination. Bisping pressing forward and avoiding Le’s strikes thusfar. Kick to the body from Le again. Nice jab by Bisping, who avoids Le’s spinning back kick. High kick misses for the Brit. Lovely 1-2 by Bisping, then a leg kick to the lead leg of Cung. Bisping with another 1-2. Side kick by Bisping. Short right by Le, Bisping countering.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Bisping (20-18 Bisping).
Round 3 - I can’t believe Le made it out of that second round, his eye is closing. Body kick by Le, then a left kick from Bisping counters. Side kick from Le. A lot of chants for Le. Le attempting a big left hand, but misses. Good kicking combination from Bisping, who avoids Le’s combination. Le with a big shot which forces Bisping backwards, Michael gets in a combination but eats a big body kick there! Body kick from Bisping. Leg kick by the Brit. And another, but Le with the right hook. Side kick from Le. Nice combination by the Brit, who ends it with the right hook. Side kick backs Bisping up. Bisping doubles up on the left jab then lands a body kick. Body kick countered from Bisping. Le with a left straight to the body of Bisping, then misses on the wheel kick before Bisping presses forward with three jabs. Bisping continuing to press the action, and Le is covering up. Le’s face is a mess. Big combination from Bisping, he’s beginning to really take over here in the third. Big left hook from Le though, but Bisping with the volume strikes to the body and head. Left hook by Bisping. Nice 1-2-1. Big right hook, and he follows it up with four more punches. Body kick from Le, but Bisping still pressing forward. 1 minute remaining. Le with a left as Bisping presses forward. High kick from Bisping, Le counters to the body. Good right jab then doubling up on the left from ‘The Count’. Le is really struggling, Bisping going to the body and pushing him against the fence. Big left hook lands for Le, that may have hurt Bisping. Left hook and a right from Bisping. A couple of right jabs at the end of the round by a confident Michael Bisping. This one may not go into the fourth.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Bisping (30-27 Bisping).
Round 4 - This doctor should be ashamed, Le is really struggling to see yet he’s letting it go. Le with a combination, landing a body kick but Bisping with a combination of his own, landing up high with the kick. Bisping again with the volume punches. A big combination from the Brit with the body kick at the end. Beautiful hooks to the body from Bisping, now up high and a huge left knee drops Le! He continues with some punches and the referee steps in! “I’m going f**king nowhere” Bisping screams. Masterful performance.
Result: Bisping via TKO (knee & punches) at 0:57 in fourth round.
World class stuff from Michael Bisping, and Cung Le may be forced to call it a career. The combinations were masterful, though Le did have some glimmers of success.
Bisping calls out Rockhold again, says Luke may have the hots for him – haha!
Tyron Woodley vs. Dong Hyun Kim
The first of two fights that I have been waiting all morning for. The much improved Dong Hyun Kim faces a Tyron Woodley looking to get back on track, who steps in for the injured Hector Lombard. While Woodley looked poor against MacDonald, he has recently been on fire. #4 Woodley meets #10 Kim in this fun contest.
Round 1 - Wow they go at it straight away, Kim landed but Woodley’s counter was the more effective strike. Woodley gets the clinch, Kim landing short shots as Tyron controls the South Korean. Little action from this position. They separate. Kim going for a spinning attack but Woodley with a huge right counter mid-spin! He drops Kim! And follows up to force the stoppage! That was absolutely huge. Woodley needed that badly, and he has a huge win.
Result: Woodley via TKO (punches) at 1:01 in first round.
That is why Tyron Woodley is so dangerous, and his loss to MacDonald is a distant memory after that blitz. That is Kim’s first loss in five.
Absolutely brilliant stuff in the post-fight interview from Woodley, who says it is his 4-year anniversary, promises her a proper wedding with the money made. Then he offers Dong Hyun Kim the opportunity to talk to the crowd. Very humble stuff.
Zhang Lipeng vs. Brendan O’Reilly
TUF China welterweight champion Zhang Lipeng fights TUF Nations competitor Brendan O’Reilly. Surely, this has to be an improvement on the last fight.
Round 1 - Big leg kick lands for Lipeng. Nice short left as O’Reilly charges forward. O’Reilly shoots in but recognised by Lipeng, who is doing a good job defensively so far. Short shots from Zhang, as O’Reilly has him in the clinch against the fence. A trip attempt from O’Reilly, but great job by Lipeng at using it to his advantage, using O’Reilly’s momentum to work his way into half guard. Butterfly guard now for O’Reilly, but Lipeng advances. O’Reilly trying to elevate with a sweep, but Lipeng with a good job defensively. Half guard once again for the Chinese fighter. Short shots to the body from Lipeng. He’s not doing too much from the top, but he’s scoring at least. O’Reilly with the sweep and he’s now on top, in the half guard. Great job from the Aussie fighter. Lipeng regains guard. Lipeng tries to push O’Reilly off and lands an upkick but O’Reilly jumps straight back into guard and remains on top. Each attempting short shots and little else. O’Reilly ends the round in Lipeng’s guard. Another pretty dull round, unfortunately.
Cooper scores round 1 10-10.
Round 2 - Good combination from O’Reilly, who does a good job avoiding the counter. Leg kick by the Aussie. Good jab by O’Reilly to counter Lipeng’s leg kick. A right lands for the TUF China winner, who continues with the leg kick. Nice combination to the body then a leg kick from the Aussie, who then shoots in to the takedown – Lipeng with good defence, and they’re now inside the clinch against the fence. Lipeng reverses the position, and gets the back of O’Reilly in the clinch, great job by the TUF China winner. Now he gets double underhooks and lands with the knees to the body. He gets the takedown, drags O’Reilly to the mat and is inside the guard now. The Aussie trying to spin out but Lipeng staying on him, now getting the back with one hook in. Body triangle now for Lipeng! He may get the rear naked now. O’Reilly is in trouble with over a minute remaining. He doesn’t have it underneath the chin, and O’Reilly is going to survive the round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Lipeng (20-19 Lipeng).
Round 3 - I think both fighters could do with a finish in this round to be sure, but Lipeng looked the more likely to do so in the second. O’Reilly is looking tired, Lipeng seems pretty fresh. Good combination from O’Reilly, who then shoots in but a knee from Lipeng as he attempts the takedown. They’re in the clinch once again, Lipeng reversing the position. O’Reilly is bloodied, it seems to be from the lip/mouth of Brendan. Lipeng gets the back, drags him down and gets one hook in. Both hooks and a body triangle now. Double punches from Lipeng. More short shots softening O’Reilly up. 2 minutes remaining in the third. O’Reilly is really bleeding badly. He may have the rear naked. Nope, O’Reilly defends well. Lipeng peppering away, dominating O’Reilly from the back mount with just a minute remaining in the decisive round. O’Reilly is battered and bruised, and looks to be heading for a loss. Lipeng keeping busy, attempting the double punches again, and just frustrating O’Reilly. Elbows from Lipeng as the round comes to a close.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Lipeng (30-28 Lipeng).
Result: Lipeng via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2).
Good performance from the TUF China welterweight winner, who is now 2-0 inside the Octagon.
Ning Guangyou vs. Jianping Yang
This is for the TUF China featherweight tournament.
Round 1 - Guangyou with a nice right, then goes in for a takedown but Yang is the one who ends up on top. Guangyou back to his feet, and lands a beautiful takedown of his own, now into side control. That was brilliant technique. Guangyou in full guard now, short shots to the body. Yang pushes him off but Guangyou immediately jumps back on top, into half guard. Yang straight back up, in the clinch and tries a throw but well defended from Guangyou. Overhand right misses for Ning. Yang with the leg kick, using a lot of movement. Guangyou missing with leaping hooks, putting all he has into those techniques. A lot of movement but little else from both fighters in the stand-up. Less than 2 minutes left in the round. Steve Percival warning them for inactivity again. Yang with a right, and gets the fight to the ground but Guangyou straight back to his feet. Yang ducks under the right hook. Guangyou gets the clinch and lands some huge knees to the body, before separating and sticking to the feet. A lot of unrest in the crowd, they’re not liking the lack of activity. A huge knee lands for Guangyou, that hurt Yang. A nice right from Guangyou. He lands with the knee to the body at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Guangyou.
Round 2 - Steve Percival trying to encourage more action from both fighters, seemingly forgetting neither of them are able to understand English. Leg kick from Guangyou. Yang misses up high. Yang utilising a lot of movement but his combinations simply aren’t landing. Guangyou shoots in and gets the takedown, into the guard and landing some short shots to the body of Yang. He tries to posture up but is unable to land, instead advancing into half guard. Yang reverses to get on top but Guangyou has a tight guillotine in the guard. Yang gets his head out and is now on top. Guangyou gets to his feet almost immediately. Leg kick from Yang, who needs to try and increase his offence. Yang misses the high kick, then eats a high kick himself. A sprawl from Guangyou as Yang shoots in. Nice leg kick buckles the leg of Guangyou. The crowd really aren’t liking the action here, a lot of booing. Each fighter exchanging leg kicks and little else. Guangyou is the aggressor, Yang trying to circle away and land some counters. Inside leg kick from Yang. Another warning from Percival. An accidental groin strike halts the action. A good flurry from Guangyou at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Guangyou (20-18 Guangyou).
Round 3 - Leg kick for Yang lands once again. The crowd are really booing now, both fighters just moving and little else. More kicks from Yang landing, he’s doing a good job of working the lead leg of Guangyou. Another lands, this time buckling the leg. Spinning back kick from Guangyou, but doesn’t land flush. Neither fighter are doing much at all, and the crowd are booing like crazy. Yang isn’t landing aside from the leg kick, which is working to great effect. Guangyou with the body kick, and another. 2 minutes. Both fighters taunting each other rather than fighting. This is just odd. And terrible to watch. Yang ducking under the combinations of Guangyou, who is making some funny noises with every shot he attempts. The crowd have been booing for the last couple of minutes, but neither fighter stepping on the pedal and more warnings from Steve Percival. Please let this end. All that has happened in this round is leg kicks from Yang, nothing else. Praise the lord, the fight ends.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Yang (29-28 Guangyou).
Result: Guangyou via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Neither fighter won. That was just awful. I was on the verge of tears watching that. His interview was just as bad as the fight.
Wang Sai vs. Danny Mitchell
‘Cheesecake Assassin’ looking for his first UFC win against TUF China finalist Wang Sai. Sai is the +170 underdog for this contest.
Round 1 - Mitchell with the jabs, he’s a very long fighter. Nicely done by Mitchell to disguise the overhand right. Big leg kicks from Sai. Sai with the right, then misses the body kick. Mitchell going for the takedown, Sai defending then landing the knee. Mitchell with over-under against the clinch, looking to get the fight to the mat. Mitchell going for a single now. Sai doing a good job defending, and lands a knee to the body. Mitchell has his hands clasped, but somehow Sai still staying on his feet. Sai circles away from the cage, Mitchell pulling guard and has the rubber guard from the bottom. Sai out of the rubber guard and lands some right hands from the top. 2 minutes left in the round. Sai landing some short shots, while Mitchell potentially looking for a submission from the bottom. Sai with a big right. He has Mitchell hurt here, and is relentlessly landing G&P. Sai gets to his feet, Mitchell gets the guard but Sai landing big shots from the top. Mitchell working the rubber guard once again, but he got hurt by Sai’s ground and pound. Good short shots by Sai, with Mitchell giving up his back and getting unloaded on before trying to hit a kneebar at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Sai.
Round 2 - Body kick from Mitchell, who avoids Sai’s combination. Spinning back kick from Mitchell, then a couple of punches before trying to grab the guillotine from Sai. He has a standing guillotine but it doesn’t danger Sai, who forces him to let go and they’re back in the standing position. Mitchell with a nice 1-2 then a level change, looking for the takedown and again Sai defends, reversing the clinch against the cage. Short shot from Sai, who then lands a big combination. Front kick from Mitchell, who marches forward with a combination before Sai counters, and gets Mitchell down to the ground. Leg kicks from Sai. They’re back up. Nice knee from Sai as Mitchell presses forward. Half of the round left. Two hooks lands for Sai, and a huge overhand right staggers Mitchell! Good combination from the Brit though, but he’s hurt for sure. Mitchell with a right on Sai. Big kick is almost countered from Sai. Mitchell with the 1-2 and fails on the takedown attempt. Leon Roberts separates them after stalling in the clinch. Mitchell with a big leg kick, Sai countering with a right. Mitchell with some tired techniques now, a lot slower than the first. The leg kick is hurting Sai though. Sai with his own. Good combination from Mitchell, who avoids the counter of Sai. A big leg kick. He avoids Sai’s combinations at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Sai (20-18 Sai).
Round 3 - I imagine Mitchell needs a finish, though the second was fairly close. Sai with the kick but good combination returned by Mitchell. Big combinations inside the clinch from both fighters, hard to see who got the better there. Sai missing with his winging punches. Spinning back fist then a kick, crazy combination from Mitchell. Sai pressing forward but countered by Mitchell. Mitchell with the right but a big left answers from Sai. Huge right buckles the head of Mitchell! Body kick from the Brit. These fighters have a lot of respect, they keep touching gloves after exchanges. Dirty boxing from Sai inside the clinch. They separate and Sai presses forward with a nice straight to the body. Walkaway right from Mitchell lands, sneaky technique there. Mitchell’s combinations are coming too slow, and Sai is avoiding them. Sai with the clinch now, nice knees by Mitchell before separating. 2 minutes left in the round. Mitchell once again with the spin, missing this time. Leg kick avoided by Sai. Mitchell’s leg kick lands but a 1-2 by Sai. Huge right by Mitchell lands and sends Sai backwards, but Mitchell goes in for the flying front kick and slips, on the ground in the guard and allowing Sai time to recover. Big shots from Sai sends Mitchell backwards! They’re both exchanging now. Body kick lands flush for Mitchell. The Brit drops down for the takedown, tough to see if he has his hands locked. Sai defending the takedowns again, that has perhaps been his most impressive trait of the fight. Mitchell gets him down just as the round comes to a close. Mitchell’s nose is badly busted up. I think this could go either way in a fun contest.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Mitchell (29-28 Sai).
Result: Sai via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Wow, is that a good judging decision? I’m amazed. I really liked that fight, both guys had their success and it went everywhere.
Alberto Mina vs. Shinsho Anzai
Shinsho Anzai is a late replacement for Sheldon Westcott, and he meets a highly touted prospect in 10-0 Alberto Mina, who was unfortunately involved in a dispute with Bellator regarding his contract. Both fighters are making their UFC debuts here. Mina was set to fight in the last Macao card, though his opponent, Zak Cummings, failed to make weight.
Round 1 - Anzai refuses to touch gloves. Knee to the body from Mina. Another knee. Anzai with a right hook, as Mina goes for the left hook. Good sprawl from Anzai. Big left rocks Mina! Anzai might have him hurt! He’s backing up! Mina with a left-right as Anzai marches forward. They’re exchanging. Overhand right then a left by Mina. Left hook hurts Anzai there! Another. And another! A knee from Mina. Good combination by the Brazilian. Anzai with an overhand right. A big left, but Mina counters. Anzai with a huge combination, then a judo throw into side control and landing some short shots! Mina using the cage to trying and get the back of Anzai and he succeeds. He has one hook in! Wow that was amazing. But Anzai shakes him off. They’re in the clinch now. Big knee by Mina, who backs away. Anzai jumps in with a right that misses. Overhand right then a knee by Mina, but Anzai gets the clinch and lands some knees of his own. Both fighters looking very tired already. 1:30 left in this crazy first round. Mina goes for the takedown but Anzai defends. Mina misses that combination, but lands the uppercut which drops Anzai! Each land a left hook. And again. Huge uppercut and Anzai is down! Hammerfists! And that is it! That uppercut was on point from the Brazilian fighter!
Result: Mina via TKO (punches) at 4:17 in first round.
Absolutely brilliant fight, even if it was sloppy as hell. That uppercut was deadly from Mina.
Roland Delorme vs. Yuta Sasaki
Delorme needs a win here to stay in the UFC, I would assume, while Sasaki is looking for a win in his UFC debut after compiling an impressive record elsewhere.
Round 1 - Sasaki immediately goes for a flying knee! Wow! Sasaki with a couple of jabs, then goes for the switch kick. He avoids Delorme’s attacks. Lovely combination by Sasaki, who ends it with a left kick. Sasaki gets the clinch, transitions to the back, dragging Delorme down. Both hooks in. Impressive stuff from Sasaki. He’s flattened Delorme out now. He may have it! He does! My oh my, that’s some performance right there.
Result: Sasaki via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:06 in first round.
Huge win for Sasaki, while Delorme is probably out of the organisation. Sasaki just blitzed through a tough guy in Delorme like he was an amateur. That’s quite something for a UFC debut.
Wang Anying vs. Colby Covington
Anying was victorious in his UFC debut and is 2-0, both via first round doctor’s stoppage. Covington trains out of ATT, is 5-0 and has finished three of his opponents via submission. Covington is a -450 favourite for this contest.
Round 1 - Both fighters with a lot of movement. Body kick by Covington, who then slams Anying to the ground and has side control immediately. Short shots from the Florida native. Anying recovers half guard, Covington staying active with ground and pound. He may be working on a choke. Anying giving up the neck. Nope. He postures up and lands a big shot. Full guard now. Covington sticking on him. Covington trapping the arm and landing some short shots. The cross wrist position for Covington. Big shots and Anying unable to defend. He’s unloading. Anying gives up the back now. Short shots once again from the American, who gets one hook in. 2 minutes left in the first. Anying works his way to his feet and avoids the single leg attempt from Covington. Good job by Wang. Kick attempt is checked by Covington, who gets in the body kick of his own and gets another takedown, not quite so powerful and this time into half guard. Now he jumps over to the over side, into side control. Huge elbow! Short elbows now, and Anying is on his left eye. That’s a bad one. More elbows. 20 seconds left. This might not go on much longer. HUGE RIGHT! Hammerfists! And that is it! Wow what a performance.
Result: Covington via submission (strikes) at 4:50 in first round.
That’s about as good of a debut as I have seen. Pure dominance from Covington, who made Anying look like he’s a couple of weight classes below.
Yao Zhikui vs. Royston Wee
Yao Zhikui has a professional record of 1-2, oh dear. Wee is 3-0 and the favourite for this bantamweight contest.
Round 1 - Yao with a combination, but Wee slipped just out of range. Big right from Zhikui. He may have Wee hurt. A nice exchange from Zhikui, but Wee gets at the takedown and now has the back of Zhikui! He seems like he may slip off, but he adjusts and this is a big position for the Singaporean. Both hooks in, trying to get the rear naked. He may have it. Nope. Short shots to the head of Zhikui, Wee staying relatively patient. Zhikui is sticking in there so far. Wee with more short shots, he has the body triangle now too. Zhikui trying to turn but Wee recognises and adjusts his position. Half of the round remaining for Wee to try and get the choke. Zhikui attempts to explode but lovely stuff by Wee at keeping on the back. Now Zhikui explodes! He’s in the guard now and landing some big ground and pound! He’s hurting Wee. Great stuff by Zhikui. Short elbows and punches. Wee lands a solid elbow from the bottom there. The pace has slowed a little, with Zhikui landing the odd shot from the top, going to the body and head of Wee. He’s covering up the mouth and trying to disrupt the breathing of Wee. Sensible approach here from Zhikui. Wee with the high guard, trying to attack from the bottom but fails to. The round comes to a close.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Wee.
Round 2 - Zhikui gets caught to the groin with the opening strike of the round. They resume after a minute or so. Zhikui trying to counter the inside leg kick with an overhand right but misses. Nice left, then an overhand right from Zhikui. A left by Zhikui. He’s looking very fluid here. Huge right. He’s backing Wee up. Big right. And another! Zhikui doing great work in the stand-up. He has big power for a bantamweight, and he has Wee a little bloodied. Huge combinations by Zhikui, Wee is wobbly. But Wee now trying to get the takedown, just like in the first round. Wee is having zero success standing and this is what he needs to do. Zhikui giving up the back again, one hook in for Wee. Some nice lefts from the top by Wee. 2 minutes left in the second. Wee still has just one hook in, and they’re both sitting up. To the body from Wee. Elbows now from Wee. Zhikui transitions to give up half guard, a better position for him here. Shoulder strikes from Wee. Short elbows. Wee staying pretty patient from the top, just chipping away when he has the opportunity and trying to reserve energy.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Zhikui (19-19).
Round 3 - If this one goes the distance, we could have another split decision on our hands. Zhikui trying to land big strikes once again, but it is the leg kicks of Wee that seem to be doing more damage. Zhikui trying to land the overhand right, Wee trying to move just out of range and pick him apart with the leg kicks to the lead leg of Zhikui. Nice 1-2 by Zhikui. Wee level changes and goes for the takedown. He gets Zhikui against the fence and drops him to his knees, Zhikui trying to land strikes in the process but Wee almost has it. Zhikui potentially going for a kimura, but he doesn’t seem to have it. Some lovely shots by Zhikui, generating a lot of power in short distance. Half of the round left. Wee struggling to completely get the takedown. Steve Percival warning the pair for their inactivity from this position, and Wee is essentially stalling while Zhikui is trying to land from the bottom. Now Wee finally gets a good position, getting the back but Zhikui bucks him off and has the half guard. Huge shots from Zhikui! He has Wee covering up! That was a big combination from Yao. Royston’s nose is bleeding heavily. Full guard now. Huge elbow from Zhikui. Wee going for a triangle and Zhikui makes him pay with some big ground and pound! Twenty seconds left in the fight and Zhikui has him busted up. Great ending to that round from Yao.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Zhikui (29-28 Zhikui).
Result: Wee via split decision (29-28 x2, 27-30).
Just awful judging. I give up. That’s the second poor decision in a row. This is going to be a looooong morning.
Elizabeth Phillips vs. Milana Dudieva
Phillips was unsuccessful in her UFC debut, where she replaced Dudieva on short notice, who now makes her UFC debut herself. Dudieva is the -160 favourite for this contest.
Round 1 - Phillips opening up with some leg kicks and utilising lots of movement. Dudieva loads up on the overhand right but misses. Dudieva looking to counter strike and land a single big shot. Dudieva misses the right once again, very laboured. Phillips going side to side, throwing the jab and avoiding Dudieva’s power punches. Dudieva struggling to land anything at all. But now she’s getting going! A nice combination from the Russian, and Phillips just tries to land back her own. They’re in the clinch now, Dudieva has Phillips up against the cage with half of the round remaining. They went to the ground momentarily but Phillips right back up, and more clinch work for the pair. Phillips has a hold of Dudieva’s neck, but the Russian slams her to the mat and is forced to let go. Phillips getting straight back up but Dudieva transitions to the back in the process. Phillips reverses and is now in the guard of Dudieva, sloppy work from the Russian there – that may be due to fatigue. Dudieva looking for an armbar but well recognised by Phillips there. Now the Russian trying to work on the leg of her opponent, Phillips getting out and landing some nice ground and pound, they’re hurting Dudieva. Good finish for Phillips.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Phillips.
Round 2 - Dudieva is already breathing out of her mouth, while Phillips looks relatively fresh. Leg kicks from Phillips. The referee warning them for inactivity in a dull round thusfar. Phillips doing little, Dudieva doing even less. Dudieva pushing forward and going for huge shots but mussing. Now she’s caught her! That hurt Phillips! Dudieva trips her to the mat but Phillips straight back up. Phillips gives up her back for a second and now is on top, in the guard. Dudieva seems to get a little too excited in these positions, and Phillips is recognising that and taking full advantage. The blitzes from Dudieva are fun, but sloppy. Phillips posturing up and trying to work some ground and pound from the top, not staying too active however. Dudieva rolling for the leg, Phillips recognising and defending that. Nice shots from Phillips now. Dudieva trying to land from the bottom, but none too significant. It’s strange that Phillips isn’t at least attempting to improve her position; she’s settling for the guard, landing shots. Dudieva landing more from the bottom now, and Phillips is bloodied. Phillips’s attacks are being blocked well, and a huge right hand just misses from Elizabeth. A pretty poor round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Dudieva (19-19).
Round 3 - Both ladies need a strong round, it’s a close one that could go either way thusfar. Dudieva misses with a huge right. The referee once again warning them for not engaging. Phillips with a jab and circling away from the counter. And again. Phillips ducking under the combination of Dudieva, getting a hold of her and getting the back of the Russian fighter. They’re standing, but look for Phillips to drag her to the mat at the first opportunity. They’re just stalling from this position – odd approach from Phillips. And now Dudieva turns it around and has her against the cage. Very big opportunity for Phillips squandered there. Dudieva gets double underhooks and drags Phillips straight into side control. Phillips explodes and is in the guard now, Dudieva going for the triangle but Phillips scrambles out, and now has the back on Dudieva. Into side control now. Dudieva needs to work on controlling her opponent. Phillips now landing some short elbows. Just over one minute left in the third and final round. Phillips isn’t staying too active from this position despite needing a convincing round. Referee warning for the third time in the fight. The corner are calling for Phillips to stay busy, but she’s not complying. 20 seconds. Dudieva with some elbows from the bottom, while Phillips isn’t trying to strike at all, it seems. Strong finish for Phillips, even if she didn’t do too much whilst in that position.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Phillips (29-28 Phillips).
Result: Dudieva via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
Dudieva gets the nod and, while it was a poor decision, Phillips needs to learn from her mistakes. She didn’t keep active enough while in dominant positions, and you simply can’t do that in front of incompetent judges. 30-27 Dudieva is a joke, though.