The UFC 148 main card will feature a middleweight bout between two strikers in Cung Le and Patrick Cote. Cote has won four consecutive fights since being released from the UFC in 2010. He was brought back to the UFC after Le’s original opponent (Rich Franklin) was pulled from the bout to fight at UFC 147 last month. Let’s see how this one breaks down.
Cung Le (7-2) is coming off a TKO loss against Wanderlei Silva in his UFC debut at UFC 139. The most interesting thing about Le is that he has never allowed a fight to reach the judges. All of his wins have come via TKO/KO and his has been finished twice via TKO. Le prefers to strike with his opponents, but he does have a wrestling background as wrestling is a part of San Shou where he was a champion. He has an array of strikes from spinning backfists and spinning kicks to his opponents mid-section. The knock on Le is his cardio. He has gassed badly in fights, most notably in his two losses where he was finished via TKO.
Patrick Cote (17-7) is coming off a TKO win in March agaisnt Gustavo Machado. Cote has won eight fights via TKO/KO and two technical submissions to his credit. Cote prefers to strike with his opponents and go for the knockout while displaying decent takedown defense. Cote has lost three fights via submission which is thought to be the weakest part of his game.
Cote will enjoy a five inch reach advantage in this fight, but he’ll probably be facing a steady diet of kicks from Le that will negate the advantage a bit. Le relies on kicks quite a bit with Cote preferring to use his hands to do the majority of his striking. We’ll probably see Cote trying to pressure Le to try and keep him backing up which will make it difficult to get his kicks off. Also, he’ll look to counter the kicks with a big overhand right. The key to this fight will be Le’s cardio. If he’s not he shape he’ll get finished as he has done so twice before, and at age 40 I’m sure it’s difficult to improve that facet of his game.
I think we’ll see Le successful with his kicks early on in the fight, but Cote will stalk him and find his range as the fight goes on. Cote has never been knocked out and I don’t think Le has the tools to do it. I think we’ll see Le start to fade, especially if Cote pressures him from the onset. It should be all Cote from there and he should be able to finish Le via TKO.