Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le’s UFC debut didn’t go so well. But the entertaining San Shou fighter will get a second chance in the world’s leading MMA promotion against Rich Franklin at UFC 148.
“I’m honored to be fighting a former UFC champion,” Le said in an interview with BloodyElbow.com. “I’m very excited to get back in the Octagon and fight my heart out. It’s probably going to be a barn burner. We’re both going to be in really good shape.”
Coming into his UFC 139 fight against Wanderlei Silva, some MMA fans didn’t think Le would be able to hold his own against the seasoned veterans in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He proved them wrong in the first round of the fight, overwhelming Silva with his constant barrage of kicks – actually forcing “The Axe Murderer” to get on his bicycle.
Unfortunately for Le, he faded a bit in the second round, allowing Silva to close the distance. Up close, Silva was able to finish Le with a steady dose of vicious knees.
Even though Le showed some signs of inexperience against Silva – some of the knees landed by Wanderlei could have been avoided if he simply placed a hand on the ground, he certainly looked like he belonged inside the Octagon.
Le should be able to put on a much better performance against Franklin, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he walks away with the victory at UFC 148. He certainly has the striking advantage, and he should be able to handle Franklin’s clinch-work and takedowns.
Of course, it depends on which Cung Le shows up for the fight. Le looked a little chubby in his last fight against Wanderlei, and it seemed like fatigue played a factor in the fight. An in shape Le would probably have bested Silva at UFC 139. And an in shape Le should be able to get past Franklin at UFC 148. Knowing how competitive Le is, I’m pretty sure he’ll be in excellent condition for his next fight.