Sports

Luke Rockhold Makes David Branch Tap To Strikes

Luke Rockhold Makes David Branch Tap To Strikes

The former UFC middleweight champion, who has been out of action for over a year, returned with a punishing performance on Saturday night, as he tapped out David Branch with strikes in the second round of their main event match-up in Pittsburgh.

In the second, Branch kept the pressure up, while Rockhold combated his attack by chopping at his lead leg. Branch then pressed Rockhold back against the cage, tying him up.

Rockhold (16-3) took Branch to the ground in the second round and established top control, hammering blows on Branch's head and neck. With Branch unable to dislodge Rockhold, the referee ended the fight as Rockhold continued to rain down strikes. Branch immediately went on the offensive and even caught Rockhold off balance with a stiff combination in the early exchanges.

"I wanted to work on the feet more, but he was just rushing forward so much into the clinch and just laying on me" Rockhold said.

Kamaru Usman, the No. 13 welterweight, knocked out Sergio Moraes with a straight right hand to the jaw in the first round. It was Rockhold's first victory since he defeated Chris Weidman at UFC 194 in December 2015 to claim the belt. Good for him, he brought it.

D'Tigers overcome Senegal, set up AfroBasket Final withTunisia
The Nigerian team won the semi-final match against Senegal 76-71 to clinch a spot in the final of the competition. The Tunisians won the third quarter 52-40, making it very hard for D'Tigers to get back into the game.

Rockhold, speaking with FS1 after the fight, pleaded for Georges St-Pierre to back out of his upcoming middleweight title bout against Michael Bisping on November 4.

In the main event, which airs live on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns to face David Branch. "He did what he had to do, and I did what I had to do", Rockhold said post-fight. "I came to UFC to be the champion. Everybody wants to see me beat up Robbie Lawler". "You don't belong here". You better back out, get out of this thing while you still can.

The American said pre-fight that he was ready and willing to step in for St-Pierre should the Canadian not be ready and able to go at 217 - and if everything goes to plan for Rockhold, he may be the man Whittaker ends up fighting for the title in 2018.

Of course, it's entirely possible Rockhold could be on stand-by just in case the Canadian happens to fall out of the bout between now and November 4 because there's little doubt he would jump at the opportunity to face Bisping again - even on short notice.


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