Cung Le scored a huge knockout win in the headline bout of UFC on FUEL 6 today.
He stopped Rich Franklin at 2:17 of the first round via a crunching right hook to the jaw that spun Franklin round and left him face down, unconscious. Le did not follow Franklin to the floor because there was clearly no need.
Franklin got caught because he stepped in to throw a leg kick with no setup, and did not move off to one side while doing so. That left his head in a vulnerable position and as his chin was up and unprotected, he took the full force of the blow.
Ironically, Le has just starred in a martial arts movie called Man With The Iron Fist. His win earned him the Knockout of the Night award, adding $40,000 to his take-home pay. Modestly, he said it was a ‚Äúlucky punch‚ÄĚ that won him the fight but it was in fact the textbook response to a poorly thrown kick.
‚ÄúThat's the biggest fight of my life. I don't even know what to say. Lucky punch, I guess,‚ÄĚ he said in a brief post-fight interview.
Commentator Jon Anik also attempted to interview Franklin but the veteran former middleweight champion had little insight to offer. ‚ÄúI'll have to go home and go to the drawing board and talk to my coaches and make an intelligent decision,‚ÄĚ he said when asked what would be next for him.
In the co-main event, Thiago Silva and Stanislav Nedkov had a decent scrap before the finish came in the final round. Silva recently moved from American Top Team down the road to the ‚ÄėBlackzilians‚Äô team, where his sparring partners include Alistair Overeem and Tyrone Spong. He has also been training with Henry Hooft, the Dutch kickboxing coach at the camp.
The effects were clear to see as his striking looked much improved already, particularly with a higher rate of leg-kicks and a more effective way of employing them. Throwing a leg kick as the opponent comes forward with a punch is typical Dutch style and there was lots of this from Silva as he sought to chop his Bulgarian opponent down.
Having tired Nedkov out, he took him down in the third and passed quickly to mount. Some big punches from top position had Nedkov lifting his arms in defence and Silva used that to set up an arm-triangle. Sliding off to one side for maximum pressure he was able to get the tap at 1:45 R3, along with the Submission of the Night award.
Paulo Thiago has a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt but it was wrestling and judo power in the driving seat for the fight with Dong Hyun Kim. The huge Korean welterweight was able to out-clinch Thiago, take him down and then out-grapple him on the floor. Several times a rear-naked choke finish looked possible but in the end Kim had to settle for a unanimous decision.
Former PRIDE FC champion Takanori Gomi wanted a war with Mac Danzig and he got one. Their fight was characterized by heavy exchanges and lots of scrambles. Danzig hit successful takedowns in rounds one and two, and was very unlucky that the clock ran out on his second-round guillotine effort. Gomi dropped Danzig in the third and followed him to the floor for a leglock battle before they returned to their feet to swing it out for the last two minutes. Gomi won a split-decision and the fight was then declared Fight of the Night.
Cung Le defeats Rich Franklin via knockout (right hook) - R1, 2:17
Thiago Silva defeats Stanislav Nedkov via submission (arm triangle) - R3, 1:45
Dong Hyun Kim defeats Paulo Thiago via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Takanori Gomi defeats Mac Danzig via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Jon Tuck defeats Tiequan Zhang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Takeya Mizugaki defeats Jeff Hougland via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
Alex Caceres defeats Motonobu Tezuka via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)
John Lineker defeats Yasuhiro Urushitani via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Riki Fukuda defeats Tom DeBlass via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)