Before stepping into the cage to fight at UFC on FUEL 6, Cung Le was honest in assessing himself, saying that his foot was only at 80 percent of optimal health. As it turns out, his usually fancy feet were hardly necessary for victory, as Le uncorked a bomb of a right hook that knocked Rich Franklin unconscious for a knockout win.
The stunning finish came at 2:17 of the first round.
"I'm just grateful," the 40-year-old Le said afterward. "I dont know waht to say. Lucky punch."
Franklin had actually gotten off to a great start, getting inside and landing his combinations as Le struggled to find the distance necessary to land his kick-heavy offense. Instead, he decided to sit back and counter. Franklin went low with a left kick, and as his hands went low, Le came in with a blistering over-the-top hook that had Franklin out before he hit the mat.
"That's the biggest fight of my life," said the Vietnam-born Le, who was fighting in Asia for the first time as a mixed martial artist.
It was the second straight octagon win for Le, who is now 9-2 overall.
Franklin (29-7, 1 no contest) has now lost two of his last three. This was his return to middleweight, fighting in his old division for the fight time since April 2008. He had hoped to make one final title run before calling it quits.
The 38-year-old Franklin was clearly stunned by the result, declining to immediately decide on what his future holds.
"I'll have to go home, go back to the drawing board, sit down with my coaches and make an intelligent decision," he said.