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UFC Fight Night 48 predictions

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Jayne Russell

The UFC returns to China with several of its top Asian stars and Chinese prospects. In the main event, Michael Bisping looks to get back on the winning track while Cung Le hopes to retain top form after a lengthy layoff. In elite welterweight action, Tyron Woodley locks horns with Dong Hyun Kim for divisional supremacy. It's also worth noting there are some very intriguing prospects competing on this card, including Alberto Mina, Milana Dudieva and Shinsho Anzai.

What: UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le

Where: Cotai Arena, Venetian Macau, Macau, China

When: Saturday, the six-fight preliminary Fight Pass card starts at 6:30 a.m. ET and the four-fight Fight Pass card starts at 9 a.m. ET.

Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le

I struggled with this pick, not simply as a heads up selection, but also on the odds. The odds makers have Bisping as more of a favorite over Le than Rich Franklin was prior to Le sending the ONE FC Vice President into the land of wind of ghost. We should never over estimate Le's ability and his age plus layoff is a legitimate concern, but I seem to detect a lot of dismissive attitudes around his chances.

If the fight goes late, I expect Bisping to pour it on. In fact, it's easy to say the longer the fight goes, the more it favors the Brit. However, I think Bisping is going to have a lot of trouble adjusting early to Le's timing and shot selection. Moreover, Le's takedown defense is more than enough to shut down Bisping's double leg (at least for the first three rounds).

I also think there's a question about Bisping's physicality at this point. His keys to victory have always been volume punching and pressure, but as you age, that becomes harder to get going and sustain. Maybe I'm reading too much into the Kennedy loss (I'm sure I am, in fact), but Le's age, while worth acknowledging, doesn't deserve to be solely singled out.

Pick: Le

Tyron Woodley vs. Dong Hyun Kim

If you haven't already seen it, go watch BJJ Scout's video detailing the keys to Woodley's striking (for better or worse) and then notice how tailor made it is for Kim's new style of fighting. Kim's wild enough and powerful enough to sleep everyone in that division, but I think the go for broke style he's adopted is going to badly backfire here.

Pick: Woodley

Zhang Lipeng vs. Brandon O'Reily

Truthfully speaking, this one could go either way. Both are brawlers as it relates to being on the feet. O'Reily is undefeated, but has a problem punching his way into the clinch, especially off a back pedaling opponent. Sam Gascoigne lit up O'Reily has he reached in space to grab ahold of his opponent. O'Reily, however, does have good takedowns and respectable top control. That should be enough to get the job done.

Pick: O'Reily

Ning Guangyou vs. Jianping Yang

I can't believe this is on a UFC card in 2014. I mean, I understand it in terms of trying to build a market, but this might be the worst fight on a UFC main card ever, in terms of meritocracy. Neither deserves to be in the UFC. Neither has much or any success against other Japanese and Korean prospects or aged veterans. Yang, however, has a bit more experience. He's also younger. Guangyou is a southpaw, but I'm sorry, is a terrible fighter. He has no real striking to speak of, has horrendous distance closing and poor balance in the clinch. This one might be sloppy, but it won't be high level.

Pick: Yang

From the preliminary card:

Danny Mitchell def. Wang Sai
Shinsho Anzai def. Alberto Mina
Yuta Sasaki def. Roland Delorme
Colby Covington def. Wang Anying
Royston Wee def. Yao Zhikui
Milana Dudieva def. Elizabeth Phillips