Middleweight Michael Bisping

Uncaged: UFC set for another double header in less than 24 hours

Macao in China and Tulsa, Oklahoma, will stage fight nights over the weekend with Bisping v Le and Henderson v Dos Anjos the two main cards.

IF YOU HAVE no immediate plans to leave the couch this weekend, and are content to view every minute of sport available, until you’ve lost all sense of time and, perhaps, personal hygiene, then there is a treat of unarmed combat that should help fill the evening portion of your armchair adventures.

From the comfort of your own home, you will be transported throughout two different time zones, all the while watching some of the world’s most dangerous athletes knock lumps out of one another.

After last night’s Cage Warriors 71 in Amman, Jordan, the UFC will host two events on two different continents in less than 24 hours for the third time this summer starting on Saturday. The first, is UFC Fight 48 in Macao, China, which is followed by 49 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As of late, and perhaps justifiably so, the UFC have been accused of market saturation, and lofty undertakings such as these have been the focal point of such criticism. The consensus being that, as they attempt to spread their tentacles into every corner of the globe, quality has given way to quantity. There is no question that when they come to new areas or those that are not considered high priority, their cards have, on frequent occasion, tended to lack marquee names or fights of any relevance.

But such is the demand for their presence and the lack thereof a global rival, Dana White and co. have dismissed these concerns as nothing more than the rumblings of contrarians who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Neither of these cards are likely to go down in the annals of MMA history, but there is just enough potential gems between the two to make them worth the watch.

Topping the bill at Cotai Arena, Macau, is a middleweight bout between perennial contender Michael Bisping and part-time B-movie star Cung Le. Despite the fact that the outcome of the match will have little or no bearing on the state of the division, it should be a fascinating battle between contrasting styles of striking.

Bisping, despite lacking knockout power, is a well-versed stand-up operator, with excellent footwork and crisp hand-to-feet combinations. The 42-year-old Le, on the other hand, possess a wide array of spectacular kicks and unorthodox attacks. If Bisping fails to get his timing off, don’t be surprised if he takes it to the mat, where he is more than capable.

Le has not fought in two years and is really there as a recognisable Asian figurehead thus, in reality, has very little to lose. But Bisping needs to win, and convincingly so, if he is to stay relevant at the pinnacle of the weight class. This is should prove the deciding factor.

UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship / YouTube

Conversely, the co-main event is of genuine importance to the dynamic of the welterweight division. Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim, currently on the back of a four fight winning streak has been matched with Tyron Woodley, a man who was on the cusp of being in the title picture until his lack lustre loss at the hands of Rory McDonald.

Kym is a top-notch judo practitioner, with vastly improved kick-boxing, while Woodley is a decorated collegiate wrestler, who possesses ferocious punching power. What’s more, he now has something to prove after such a tepid display against McDonald. This one could be over in a flash, or be a 15 minute slugfest; a definite contender for Fight of the Night.

The event can be viewed live by subscribers of UFC Fight Pass from 2pm, or watched on repeat on BT Sport 1 at 10pm.

UFC Chicago Mixed Martial Arts Benson Henderson takes on Rafael Dos Anjos. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

If your appetite for violence has still not been sated, then you should stay up for the UFC’s first show in Tulsa for almost 20 years. In the main event, former-lightweight champion Benson Henderson has been matched with Brazilian Rafael Dos Anjos.

During his time as the WEC and then UFC champion, Benson Henderson has had eight title fights, of which he has won six. The same man has taken both accolades from him; Anthony Pettis. If not for him, Henderson would most likely still be top dog at 155lbs.

In Dos Anjos, he faces a wily veteran with victories in seven of his previous eight fights. So, if a third crack at Pettis and chance to reclaim his belt is to materialise, the man they call ‘Smooth’ must dispose of the Rio native in the same devastating manner he did previous opponent Rustam Khabilov.

Henderson is one of the most complete fighters in the sport, and calls on a dangerous variation of BJJ, wrestling and taekwondo. However, Dos Anjos is equally competent at finishing fights via submission or knockout.

If either man pulls off a comprehensive win, a shot at Pettis after he concludes his business with Gilbert Melendez, could be in the offing.

The other pick of the main event, particularly for those fight fans who enjoy the grappling aspect of the game, is the middleweight match-up between Francis Carmont and Thales Leites. The former has morphed into a powerful wrestler, despite his kickboxing roots, while the latter is a tremendous proponent of BJJ.

 Prelim coverage starts live on BT Sport 1 from 1am.

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