Bisping looks to bounce back

British Michael Bisping waits for the moment for the fight against Brazilian Vitor Belfort. (AFP...

British Michael Bisping waits for the moment for the fight against Brazilian Vitor Belfort. (AFP PHOTO/Yasuyoshi CHIBA)

DANNY AUSTIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:42 PM ET

Michael Bisping promised that his unimpressive loss to Tim Kennedy was a one-time-only deal.

On Saturday in China, the Englishman put in a performance that should go a long way towards convincing the legions of fans who still had their doubts, dominating Cung Le from start until fourth-round finish.

Fighting in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Macao, Bisping came out aggressively and picked his Vietnamese opponent apart with flurry after flurry of punches and kicks.

It was almost entirely one-way traffic until the fourth-round, when the 35-year-old put the fight to bed with a brutal left knee that crumpled Le, and followed it up with a barrage of punches before the referee stepped in.

It was the best Bisping’s looked for a while, and he wasted no time before calling out the man he hopes to fight next.

“There’s an idiot named Luke Rockhold who doesn’t stop talking about me,” Bisping said. “I think he’s got the hots for me to be honest. I’m going to beat Luke Rockhold and then I’m taking the title.”

Rockhold’s been tapped for a run at the title after wins over Costas Phillippou and Tim Boetsch, but a fight against the lower-ranked Bisping might be too much to pass up for UFC matchmakers.

It would also be an opportunity for Rockhold to legitimize his claim to contender-status before diving into the top-5 deep-end, and the California native certainly seems up for it. He responded to Bisping’s provocation with a simple prediction for how the fight would go on Twitter.

“1 round @Bisping 1 round.” Rockhold wrote.

A win over the 42-year-old Le likely won’t be enough to thrust Bisping back into the title conversation at 185 lbs., but it was certainly an improvement over his listless showing against Kennedy. In that fight, Bisping was taken to the ground again and again and appeared entirely unable to cope with Kennedy’s wrestling.

If he’s going to get himself back into the title picture, a win against Rockhold and his considerable wrestling prowess would be a pretty decent start.

WOODLEY VICIOUS

The last time UFC fans saw Tyron Woodley in the octagon, he was getting thoroughly out-fought by Canadian Rory MacDonald at UFC 174 in Vancouver.

On Saturday, Woodley looked like an entirely different fighter from the one who lost a never-in-doubt unanimous decision that night in June.

Woodley exploded on South Korean fighter Dong Hyun Kim, reminding fight fans of his considerable potential with a knockout 61 seconds into the opening round.

Kim had been more aggressive in the opening seconds but was caught by a couple powerful Woodley counter-strikes. When he went for a spinning back fist, Woodley calmly unloaded a brutal right that sent Kim to the mat.

Afterwards, the welterweight division’s No. 4-ranked fighter kept things simple.

“I needed to redeem myself quickly,” Woodley said.

The win should be enough to earn Woodley a fight against another top-5 opponent. He defeated Carlos Condit back in March and is coming off the loss to MacDonald, so it’s possible that the UFC will look to match him with Matt Brown at some point next year.

In the meantime, Woodley says he intends on giving his wife of four years the wedding she’s always wanted.

GARCIA COMES UP SHORT

Alex Garcia had looked so, so strong in his first two UFC fights.

On Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Tulsa, though, the Dominican fighter -- who fights out of Montreal’s Tristar Gym these days -- simply had no answer for American Neil Magny’s suffocating takedown game.

Garcia looked better when both fighters were standing and managed to keep ground control for most of the third-round, but looked helpless when Magny went for takedowns in the first two rounds.

It was a clash of on-the-rise welterweights, and the win puts Magny on a four fight win streak. The Brooklyn, N.Y. fighter has likely earned himself a shot at one of the division’s top-15 at this point, having taken on a heavy-load with four fights so far in 2014.

daniel.austin@sunmedia.ca

@SUNDannyAustin

 


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