Those were the main questions that were at least partially answered after Bisping and Le squared off in the UFC Fight Night 48 main event on Saturday in Macao, China.
Le took control early, landing some solid kicks and punches to the body. Late into the opening round, however, Bisping started to find his timing and landed several good punch combinations that seemed to stymie much of Le’s offense. It set the tone for the fight, Bisping utilizing a strategy of volume over power.
The second stanza started off with Le landing a couple good kicks to the body, but Bisping put an end to that by landing a left hand that immediately started to close Le’s right eye. Struggling with his vision for the remainder of the round, Le took a heavy dose of Bisping’s punch combinations, his face bloodied and bruised by the end of the frame.
Bisping played it on the safe side in the third round, smartly utilizing his jab to continue mounting damage to Le’s right eye, not giving the former Strikeforce champ an opportunity to land many power shots.
Le’s right eye was getting worse with every second that went by, but he wouldn’t relent, continuing after Bisping with his patented kicks.
Bisping, however, stuck to his punches in bunches strategy, and as he landed more punches, he snuck in a head kick that rocked Le. The Brit followed with more and more punches and then sent Le to the mat with a knee to the head.
“I didn’t want to go down, but I guess my legs disagreed with me,” Le said after the fight.
Once he dropped to the mat, Bisping went in for the finish, unloading several more punches that forced the referee to step in and call a halt to the fight.
It was an impressive rebound by Bisping after losing a decision to Tim Kennedy in his last trip to the Octagon.
“I took some time off, I had some problems (with a detached retina),” said Bisping. “I came back, didn’t go so well. (But) this is what I’m capable of.”
With the win over Le, the 35-year-old Bisping showed that he’s not done chasing the championship just yet.
“I want to be world champion. I know I have the tools, but you have to back it up. This is backing it up,” he declared.
“Luke Rockhold, you called me out. If you want it, let’s dance. I’m gonna beat Luke Rockhold and then I’m coming for the title.”