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UFC Fight Night 48 'Prelims' preview, predictions for 'Bisping vs Le' in Macau

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More fights are coming to Fight Pass online digital network this weekend (Sat., Aug. 23, 2014) when UFC Fight Night 48: "Bisping vs. Le" kicks off from Cotai Arena in Macau, China. MMAmania.com's Patrick Stumberg kicks off UFC Fight Night 48 "Prelims" party with a full under card preview.

Photo by Tracy Lee for Combat Lifestyle

Bisping vs. Strikeforce ... TAKE TWO!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is heading back to Cotai Arena in Macau, China, this Saturday morning (Aug. 23, 2014), bringing with it a clash of Middleweight strikers. In the main event, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 winner, Michael Bisping, will take on former Strikeforce 185-pound champion Cung Le.

Bisping looks to rebound from a loss to Tim Kennedy and Le will try to build on his knockout of Rich Franklin.

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley will attempt to regain his momentum after his loss to Rory MacDonald, facing Dong-Hyun Kim and his four-fight win streak in a meaningful Welterweight clash..

Since we have another double-header in store (UFC Fight Night 49 takes place later the same evening), each set of "Prelims" preview/predictions gets one article each. Here are the six set to greet early risers this Saturday, all of which join the main card on Fight Pass.

170 lbs.: Wang Sai vs. Danny Mitchell

Wang Sai (6-5-1) ran through TUF: "China" house, finishing both opponents in the second round. In a match up of top picks, he took on Team Zhang’s Zhang Lipeng at the Finale, losing a narrow split decision to "The Warrior."

He owns four wins by knockout and two by submission.

Danny Mitchell (14-5-1) entered UFC having won five of his previous six, picking up a flying triangle and a twister win in that span. Despite his aggression, however, he was unable to out-grapple BJJ black belt Igor Araujo in London, losing a unanimous decision.

He will have a two-inch height advantage and has submitted nine opponents.

Save for some trouble in the first round, Sai did a good job of denying Zhang’s attempts to bring it to the mat. Against someone as aggressive with his submissions as Mitchell, though, he may not have the luxury of taking a round to dial in his takedown defense. While Mitchell’s go-for-broke grappling can and has cost him against superior positional grapplers, he is certainly quite dangerous on the mat.

Though he likely deserved the win against Zhang, I expect him to be in a heap of trouble if Mitchell gets on top of him. Mitchell catches him in a scramble after an early takedown.

Prediction: Mitchell via first-round submission

170 lbs.: Alberto Mina vs. Shinsho Anzai

Alberto Mina (10-0) returned from a two-year hiatus last December, knocking out Finland’s Glen Sparv in under three minutes. He was scheduled to face Zak Cummings at the UFC’s previous visit to Macau, only for Cummings to come in eight pounds heavy, after which Mina heeded his coaches’ advice and refused the fight.

All 10 of his wins are by finish ... eight of them inside the first round.

Shinsho Anzai (8-1) earned the biggest win of his career in June, flattening Ryo Kawamura for the latter’s Pancrase middleweight title. When TUF: Nations vet Sheldon Westcott pulled out of his bout with Mina on less than two weeks’ notice, however, Anzai accepted the fight as his welterweight debut.

Six of his wins are by form of knockout ... all in the first round.

Though Anzai took this fight on short notice, I feel that he’s a bad matchup for Mina. In addition to heavy hands and wrestling skills, he also managed to earn his way into ADCC 2013, though he had the misfortune of facing eventual runner-up Rafael Lovato Jr. in the opening round.

I believe Mina will struggle to dictate the grappling against Anzai.

The short notice and the fact that this is Anzai’s first cut to 170 pounds do raise concerns. That said, Anzai has been planning to make the drop since beating Kawamura and should be prepared. His strength and wrestling prowess spell an early end for Mina.

Prediction: Anzai via first round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Roland Delorme vs. Yuta Sasaki

Roland Delorme (9-3) opened his UFC career strongly, winning three of his first four fights under the banner and his one loss being overturned due to a drug test failure. He has since lost two straight, though, dropping decisions to Alex Caceres and Japanese prospect Michinori Tanaka.

TUF vet has only gone the distance once in victory, submitting six.

Yuta Sasaki (17-1-2) joins Kyoji Horiguchi and the aforementioned Tanaka as one of Japan’s brightest prospects, going unbeaten in his last 11 fights. The 24-year-old former Shooto champ has finished his last five opponents inside two rounds.

"Ulka" has already competed three times in 2014 and four times each in both 2012 and 2013.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any recent footage of Sasaki floating around, save for getting the snot choked out of him at ADCC last year, so take this prediction with a grain of salt. Sasaki’s strength of schedule and Delorme’s recent struggles against fellow grapplers, though, seem to bode ill for Roland. Sasaki should have the ability to repeat Tanaka’s effort, controlling the fight from top position.

Delorme has some pop in his hands, but I expect him to have trouble on the feet against Sasaki and I’m not sure he can impose his grappling on "Ulka." Sasaki follows the trend of Kyoji Horiguchi and Tanaka with a successful debut, using quality grappling to grind down Delorme.

Prediction: Sasaki via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Wang Anying vs. Colby Covington

Wang Anying (2-0) was unable to capitalize on his quarterfinal Ultimate Fighter: China opponent missing weight, losing to Prelims headliner Wang Sai by submission. He managed to impress on the Finale, however, battering Albert Cheng into a first-round doctor’s stoppage.

The Mongolian striker’s previous win came in the same fashion.

American Top Team’s Colby Covington (5-0) enjoyed a successful collegiate wrestling career, earning fifth at nationals during his senior year at Oregon State. He has enjoyed similar success in MMA, submitting three of his five foes.

Covington, who roomed with Jon Jones and Joe Soto in high school, was also a Pac-10 champion, was also the subject of MMA filmmaker Genghis Con’s online series "Tales from the Grind" alongside current roommate Jorge Masvidal.

Though Wang’s striking looked solid against Cheng, it’s hard to picture him beating Covington. The ATT product has an excellent wrestling pedigree, fights out of a better camp, and has twice the pro experience. In addition, it’s unlikely Wang has ever trained with someone with Covington’s grappling prowess.

Though Wang has some power in his strikes, it’s unlikely he gets a chance to bring it to bear. Covington grounds him and coaxes the tap in the early going.

Prediction: Covington via first-round submission

135 lbs.: Yao Zhuikui vs. Royston Wee

Yao Zhuikui (1-1) -- Tiequan Zhang’s third Featherweight pick on TUF: "China" -- enjoyed early success on the show, knocking out Allen Chong in the quarterfinals. The strength and grappling of Team Ao top pick Yang Jianping proved too much, however, and he dropped a unanimous decision in the semis.

Though he competed at 145 pounds on the show, he will face Royston Wee (3-0) at bantamweight and is listed on Sherdog as a Flyweight.

Wee made his Octagon debut in Jan. 2014, becoming the first Singaporean to compete inside the Octagon. Despite a large height and experience disadvantage, Wee managed to defeat Team Lakay’s Dave Galera, utilizing solid top control and takedowns to earn a decision. Both of his previous two wins came via first-round submission.

This fight will likely come down to whoever wins the wrestling. While Yao did give up some size in that fight, watching him get hurled around the cage by Yang doesn’t fill me with confidence. While Wee doesn’t seem too adept at pursuing submissions, he does seem to have solid top control and decent takedowns.

When dealing with fighters this early in their careers, there’s always the chance for massive improvement between fights. Based on their last efforts, though, Wee ought to be able to grind out another decision win.

Prediction: Wee via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Elizabeth Phillips vs. Milana Dudieva

Elizabeth Phillips (4-2), having rattled off four straight wins since a loss to the devastating Miriam Nakamoto, debuted on short notice in June against Valerie Letourneau. While she started strong and swelled Letourneau’s eye shut, she slowed down in the latter rounds, losing a split decision.

She owns two wins by technical knockout and one via rear-naked choke.

Milana Dudieva (10-3) bounced back from a winless (0-2) 2013 in solid fashion, picking up two rapid first-round submissions since February. She was originally scheduled to face Germaine de Randamie and then Valerie Letourneau at UFC 174 before suffering an injury and being replaced herself by Phillips.

Each of her nine finishes -- six of them submissions -- has come in the first round.

Dudieva has some power and slick submissions, but her positional game is lacking. I expect that to be her undoing against Phillips, who should be able to impose her wrestling on her Russian foe.

Of course, the big question in this fight is Phillips’ cardio, which cost her a victory against Letourneau her last time out. With a full camp, however, I expect that to be less of an issue this time around. While Dudieva packs some power in her right hand, her tendency to surrender position and overall poor strength of schedule suggest that Phillips should be able to control the fight with her wrestling. Phillips takes the decision through top control.

Prediction: Phillips via unanimous decision

Don't party too hard this Friday; the early bird gets the head kicks. See you there, Maniacs.

Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 48 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 a.m. ET, right on through the Fight Pass main card at 9 a.m. ET.

Current UFC "Prelims" Prediction Record 2014: 119-52 (1 NC)