Luke Rockhold found himself in trouble early in the first round of his main event fight with David Branch at UFC fight Night 116 this evening, but then rebounded to earn a submission victory due to strikes by the second round.
The main event of the evening is underway in Pittsburgh!
Branch firing out a few punches early. Body kick for Rockhold now and goes for it again. Now Branch lands a body kick himself and follows up with a right hand.
Branch into the clinch against the cage now. It’s not long before Rockhold moves away back to striking range. He lands a couple of body kicks, the second of which is almost caught by Branch.
Branch presses forward and lands a combination of strikes that has Rockhold in trouble against the cage early in this fight. He then takes Rockhold down, but he gets right back up again.
Now Rockhold reverses the clinch position and lands a couple of knees. Now it’s Branch’s turn to break free and get back to striking range.
Branch pressuring Rockhold immediately with a punch and then into the clinch against the cage again. Rockhold reverses the clinch and tries for a takedown, then settles for a knee as he moves away.
Leg kick for Rockhold as Branch looks for the jab. Another leg kick for Rockhold, higher this time. Branch complains about an eyepoke, but the ref didn’t see it and he has to fight on.
Jumping switch kick attempt from Rockhold. Branch into the clinch, but again Rockhold reverses it. Rockhold trying for a takedown and works hard to successfully land it late in the round, and there’s not enough time left to do much with this advantageous position.
Body kick for Rockhold. Punch to the head and body from Branch. Now a body kick of his own. Leg kick from Rockhold. Left hook just touches Rockhold.
Low kick for Rockhold. ANother kick and one in return from Branch. Branch catches a kick and throws a punch. Good body kick for Branch and then into the clinch.
Rockhold finds space to get the muay thai clinch and throws a knee to the body, then reverses the clinch and puts Branch up against the cage. Rockhold trying for his second takedown of the fight, but nothing doing for now, though he’s maintaining control here.
Finally as we approach two minutes left in the round Rockhold is able to secure the takedown and then quickly steps into mount.
Rockhold transitions to the back and starts hammering down ground and pound strikes. Branch tries to roll to his back, eats more punches and goes back to his stomach again.
Branch flattened out now and Rockhold is continuing to hammer away at him with punches. Branch looking very uncomfortable in there now and he just can’t get Rockhold off him.
Finally the ground and pound assault is too much for Branch to take and he taps out to strikes with 4.05mins of the second round gone!
So, Rockhold is back in the win column and will no doubt now be pursuing the quickest route back to the middleweight title, most likely against the winner of Michael Bisping Vs GSP, which takes place later this year.