UFC 148 fight card: Cung Le vs Patrick Cote prediction, preview and breakdown

Photo by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.

In a battle of standup-minded strikers, consider this the perfect mix of technique and red-meat-offering to the crowd.

Cung Le has been a mercurial figure in mixed martial arts (MMA), bursting on the scene after dominating San Shou for years, and suggesting huge potential, only to take long layoffs just when his star looked ready to go to the next level. He also ran into Scott Smith, who scuttled his smooth stylings with one of the gnarliest comeback knockout wins in the history of the sport.

Patrick Cote has been one of the reliable products of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a guy with a big-time chin, solid hands, and a mixed bag of results. Since his tough-luck loss to Anderson Silva in a title challenge, where his knee blew out in a bout where very little happened in just under 11 minutes, Cote dropped two more bouts and went back to the small-show circuit, winning four straight.

But now he's back to square off against a flashy old-timer at tonight's (Sat., July 7, 2012) UFC 148: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2" pay-per-view (PPV) event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the middleweight battle between Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote:

The Breakdown:

It's hard to guess where Le's head and focus are going to be, given the brutal knockout he suffered against Wanderlei Silva in his UFC debut last November. He's 40-years-old, and while a dazzling athlete with some of the most technically adept kicks in the game, his match with Silva resembled a point fighter versus a street fighter. Le's technique and ability to deliver baffling attacks are second to none, but at times you get the feeling he's fighting in a karate tournament instead of punching through the target.

Which Cote will definitely be doing.

Patrick is your standup, hard-nosed kickboxer type, with heavy hands and one of the better chins in the game. The real wild card is how Le reacts after several minutes of sticking, moving, lighting Cote up with picturesque combinations, and Cote not going anywhere. It's too bad that Le does very little with his grappling, because he was an outstanding high school wrestler and had some amazing throws while dominating San Shou. It's obvious he could take a lot of people down and that would only add another element to his game.

The Pick:

This is definitely a show-or-go fight for Le, who has been gifted with a guy in Cote that never shoots for takedowns and never shied away from a standup fight. Le's great mix of kick setups and dynamic attacks range from the sublime - such as his spinning back kicks and nifty combinations - but you have to wonder how he'll react with Cote banging away in return, never giving up and constantly pressing forward. Cote's not quite the vicious killer Silva is, but he's more durable at this point than Wandy, who managed to last through Le's initial onslaught to catch and finish him. Cote's right hand is his best weapon, and he needs to land it early, even a mere once or twice, in the first round to plant some doubt in Le's head. Once he gets Le in something of a retreat mode, Cote will close the distance and work dirty boxing and wear Le down until the finish.

Cote by knockout in round three

Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 148 results of all the "Silva vs. Sonnen 2" pay-per-view (PPV) action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Sunday morning.

See you later!

Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or jasonprobst@gmail.com.

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