MACAU, China -- Vietnamese-born middleweight Cung Le landed a crushing right to knock out Rich Franklin in the headlining bout of Saturday's "UFC on FUEL TV 6: Franklin vs. Le" event taking place at the Venetian Resort Hotel's Cotai Arena.
Franklin, who was fighting at middleweight for the first time since 2008, looked comfortable until the end, darting in and out of range with kicks and punches and looking the quicker fighter.
However, a perfectly placed punch in the first round ended his night in violent fashion in front of a crowd of 8,415.
"I threw a couple kicks just to feel him out, and he was countering with punches," Le said after the win. "He was trying to time me, so I figured I would let my hands go, and I caught him."
Le picked up a $40,000 bonus cheque for the evening's "Knockout of the Night."
Prior to the fight, the 38-year-old Franklin had suggested he was hoping to make one more run at the UFC's middleweight title, a belt he held prior to current champion Anderson Silva.
Instead, it's the 40-year-old Le who now has options ahead. What route he'll take isn't immediately known, as the part-time Hollywood actor admitted he is hoping for a little time off.
"Since last November to this November, I've had three fights," Le said. "So I want to take a little vacation and just spend a little time with my family."
In the night's co-feature, Brazilian Thiago Silva earned a third-round submission of a fatiguing Stanislav Nedkov. The fight proved a grinding affair for the opening 10 minutes as the Bulgarian Nedkov looked to use his wrestling prowess to make the fight a clinch-based match.
But the previously undefeated Nedkov was visibly exhausted in the third, and Silva took him to the floor for an arm-triangle choke win.
The bout earned Silva a $40,000 bonus for the evening's "Submission of the Night."
Prior to the two spectacular wins, the preceding seven bouts all ended via decision. Despite the lack of stoppage wins, the Cotai Arena crowd seemed to enjoy the action in the UFC's first-ever visit to Chinese soil.
Following the event, UFC Asia exec Mark Fischer said the company is intent on long-term success in the market.
"It was an awesome experience," Fischer said. "It surpassed our expectations, so absolutely it was a success for our first event in China. We're going to go back and figure out the next step ... but China is certainly a long-term target, a big target market for us. It has tremendous potential. We know it's going to take time to develop fully, and that's where we're headed."