Photo of Cung Le by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.
The injury bug hasn't been all bad for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its competitors. It indirectly helped lead to the return of Patrick Cote, who took on Cung Le at tonight's (Sat., July 7, 2012) UFC 148: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2" event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cote won all four of his fights since getting dropped by Zuffa in 2010 after a three-fight losing streak. His return wouldn't be easy, as he was welcomed back to the Octagon by a San Shou striker with a flashy style prone to embarrassing folks.
The former rang true, the latter not so much.
That's because Le never quite got the chance to pop off with his dazzling array of strikes. Sure, he unleashed a few interesting kicks, some of which landed, but he looked pudgy and uncomfortable all throughout the 15 minute contest.
Still, Le earned the decision victory by scores of 30-27 across the board. Whatever.
Cote was eager to get rolling early and threw a kick. Le caught it and planted him with a sweep.
"The Predator" got back up and proceeded to execute the game plan he had coming in, which was to pressure Le and not allow him to get comfortable at any point in the fight. Doing so would give the kickboxer a chance to use those flashy moves he's so fond of.
Despite this, Le maintained distance and fired off a few spinning kicks and what not. It was close through one, at the very least.
Cote once again opened the second by pushing forward and being aggressive, controlling the center of the cage. Le was finding his spots, landing a time or two. But so was Cote.
It was closer but still looked as though Le was ahead, if only slightly.
The third and final round saw Cote pushing ahead once again. He clinched up with Le against the cage and used it to unload a sweet spinning backfist that landed nicely. Not flush, but enough to cause a stir.
Le looked tired with minutes to go while Cote was light on his feet. Still, he wasn't doing anything to really punctuate a victory. All told, this was not the exciting match-up we were led to believe it would be.
These things happen in MMA.
Le earned a late takedown, though he did nothing with it save for scoring the inevitable points the judges award for every takedown. Cote went to even the score right after getting back up but Le avoided going to the floor, to his credit.
With roughly 40 seconds remaining, Le earned another takedown, his third in four attempts, and that was enough to do it.
But the less said about this one the better.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's live ongoing coverage of the UFC 148 main card by clicking here.