A 40 year old former Strikeforce middleweight champion took on a returning former UFC middleweight title challenger last night (July 7, 2012) as Cung Le took on Patrick Cote on the UFC 148 main card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cung Le had his UFC debut party spoiled by Wanderlei Silva late last year, but he showed up extra motivated to not repeat his past mistake this time around.
Cote was making his return after two years outside the promotion, so he also had no excuse not to give it his all.
From start to finish, "The Predator" showcased an incredible chin and some serious toughness in the face of Le's unique striking game, but it was Le who consistently landed his offensive attack.
So how did the part-time action movie star earn his first UFC nod? And what happens next for both men?
Follow me after the jump for our Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote UFC 148 post-fight review and analysis.
In the opening seconds, Le sent a message, catching a kick from Cote and tossing him to the canvas with his signature sanshou throws.
That initial takedown, even though Le didn't do anything with it, was likely stuck in Cote's head for the rest of the fight and he never really got in Le's face for extended periods of time because he had to know that Le was capable of dumping him on his head at any moment's notice.
Due to this, Le had plenty of space to work in the first round, throwing a huge diverse attack of kicks and punches. In particular, his most effective combination was a left body kick followed by a right hook. That right hook was money for Le and he repeatedly found a home for it all night.
Cote finally turned up the aggression in the second round, eating shots to get inside and land some offense of his own, but he just couldn't sustain it enough to actually hurt the martial arts expert.
If there was any doubt about the outcome, Le's conditioning held up in the third round and after outlanding Cote for a good four minutes, he took "The Predator" down and dropped some punches for over a minute to seal the deal.
For Patrick Cote, he has to be incredibly disappointed. He worked so hard, earning three victories over former UFC fighters and then going into Brazil to beat a tough Brazilian just to get that invite back to the UFC. Unfortunately, he drew a really awkward and unique fighter for his first opponent and he simply couldn't deal with both Le's variety of attack or Le's sneaky takedowns on the inside. Because of this, he never found the proper range to land his right hand. All he had going for him was the fact that he ate some big shots and never even got wobbled.
For Cung Le, he deserves major props for showing up capable of going three rounds and for utilizing a proper gameplan. He never stuck around in the pocket for extended periods of time, only long enough to land his combinations, maybe an extra kick and then get out. His kicks constantly kept Cote guessing and his right hand was extremely accurate all night long. The takedowns were just icing on the cake to showcase his full realm of martial arts skill. At 40 years old, Le still has it.
Le is an adrenaline junkie so he'll be sticking around for at least another fight. As long as his foot heals quickly, I'm sure the UFC would love to put him on that China show in November. A big potential opponent could be his originally scheduled UFC 148 foe, Rich Franklin, who's coming off a nice win over Wanderlei Silva. Other options could include a returning Chris Leben.
Either way, it'd be nice to see this 40 year old showcase his talents again.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you underwhelmed by Cote's performance last night? Did Le's conditioning and ability to keep going for three full rounds surprise you?