UFC Fight Night 48 Preview: Cung Le vs Michael Bisping – Cung Le’s San Shou Takedowns

Cung Le is known for his exciting brand of striking making flashy kicks land and do real damage.  What people don’t talk about as much are Le’s San Shou style takedowns.  For grappling enthusiasts these are even more exciting and fights devoid of this unique style of grappling, like his knockout win against Rich Franklin, can be a bit of a letdown.

Cung Le will be squaring off against the UFC’s most called out 185 pound fighter, Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau and it will be interesting to see some more Sanshou/Sanda in the UFC arena.

bisping cung le staredown ufc fight night

For those of you who don’t know, san shou is a martial art developed by the Chinese military.  It combines striking with kicks, punches, elbows and knees with takedowns similar to those found in judo (from the clinch) and in wrestling (by shooting in).  Sanda is the competitive version of the martial art.  The sport resembles a muay thai match combined with throws and take downs of judo and wrestling, however, there is no ground work.

Sanshou takedowns include Uproots, Leg Catches, and throws from the clinch so it ties very nicely into MMA as it flows from strikes to throws and vice versa.  Let’s have a look at some of these takedowns!

cung le leg sweep on patrick cote at ufc
Cung Le sweeps out Patrick Cote’s from under him after a well timed leg catch.

Uproot Takedowns:

Cung Le shows some uproot techniques which are essentially shooting in for take downs.

As you can see these greatly resemble wrestling with its double leg uproot – (similar to a double leg takedown / morote gari),  and single leg uproot – (single leg takedown) and some variations specific to Sanshou.

Leg Catch Takedowns:

Catching the leg when an opponent attempts to throw a kick and taking him down

Urijah Faber shows off a single leg takedown while punching Alex Caceres at UFC 175

urijah faber single leg with punches gif

Flying scissors

This is probably Cung Le’s signature takedown.  It is essentially the san shou version of judo’s infamous banned technique kani basami


A ton of different sanda takedowns

Sanda Takedowns from the clinch:

If you watch closely there are koshi guruma’s, o goshi’s, even o soto gari and the more specific sanshou takedowns to counter kicks.

Cung Le catches Patrick Cote with a couple of  ko soto gari’s (not sure what these are called in sanshou)

cung le ko soto gari takedown on patrick cote at UFC


A nice o goshi from an opponent rushing towards Le

cung le sanshou o goshi throw

Takedown similar to a Ko soto gari 

This is an interesting takedown that can be used for no gi/mma.  It can be done from a body lock and is essentially a ko soto gari but they end up going over your thigh like a sukui nage with a reversed grip

And I’ll leave you with this old highlight video of Cung Le tossing guys on their heads!

Let’s hope Cung Le will employ some of the San Shou / Sanda takedowns below on Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48!

Your turn, will you be tuning in to watch the fight?

Post in the comments below!


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