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Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) Middleweight elites Luke Rockhold and David Branch will clash TONIGHT (Sept. 16, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 116 inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
It’s been over a year since Rockhold last stepped into the Octagon in a bout that saw overconfidence expense him his UFC title. Injuries have delayed his return, but Rockhold is lastly healthy and prepared to return to the title hunt.
Once upon a time– in 2011 to be specific– Branch was unfairly launched by the UFC after a single loss. Following that dissatisfaction, Branch went on an enormous win streak that saw him record two different belts worldwide Series of Fighting (WSOF). He effectively went back to the Octagon a couple of months back, and that triumph solidified his status as a top 10 Middleweight.
Let’s have a look at the secrets to triumph for each male.
Luke Rockhold – Record: 15-3
Secret Wins: Chris Weidman (UFC 194), Ronaldo Souza (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov), Lyoto Machida (UFC on FOX 15), Tim Kennedy (Strikeforce: Rockhold vs Kennedy).
Key Losses: Michael Bisping (UFC 199), Vitor Belfort (UFC on FX 8).
Keys to Victory: Rockhold is one of the department’s biggest fighters, however he likewise has the conditioning to go five hard rounds. That alone makes him a problem for great deals of fighters, however it’s Rockhold’s devastatingly strong kicks and vibrant ground video game that won him the title.
Rockhold has to win this fight to recover, and thankfully he’s been coupled with a grappler. Rockhold absolutely prospers against males who aim to take him down; there’s a reason he holds wins over the division’s best wrestlers and grapplers.
Branch is a strong enough fighter, however he can not match Rockhold’s capability to kick like a mule. If Rockhold stays composed and makes complete use of his range, it’s just a matter of time till Branch starts to degrade from his kicks. Once that happens, a takedown attempt is imminent, which’s Rockhold’s chance to sweep or submit.
David Branch – Record: 21-3.
Secret Wins: Krzysztof Jotko (UFC 211), Yushin Okami (WSOF 15), Jesse Taylor (WSOF 10), Vinny Magalhaes (WSOF 33).
Secret Losses: None.
Keys to Victory: Branch is a Renzo Gracie black belt with a well-rounded game. His boxing and wrestling have come a long way considering that his first UFC run, as Branch is now comfortable in all locations and maximizes his nearly 80 inch reach.
In almost all of his WSOF triumphes, Branch depended on his ground video game to some extend. He might have invested great deals of time standing– or when it comes to Yushin Okami, even completed the fight with his hands– but the risk of his takedown and grappling were constantly in the back of his opponent’s mind.
Versus Rockhold, that will not truly hold true. If Branch spends time attempting to build off his grappling, he’ll just squander energy and give Rockhold opportunities to injure him.
Rather, Branch is going to wish to make this as much of a boxing match as possible. He’ll have to pressure in order to avoid Rockhold’s kicks, however that also gives him the best chance at getting through Rockhold’s range and touching his chin.
Bottom Line: It’s a very important bout for the 185 lbs. department.
Rockhold is desperate to obtain back into the mix and earn a chance to recover his belt. Reasonably, interim kingpin– and true No. 1 fighter in the department right now– Robert Whittaker will face the winner of Georges St. Pierre vs. Mike Bisping next. However, a win here puts Rockhold fairly near to dealing with the winner of that bout, although he’ll still likely need to pick up another victory.
Meanwhile, a loss pushes him far down the ladder.
The scenario is pretty similar for Branch too. The 35 years of age likely doesn’t have a lots of time left in his prime, so the time is now to make an effect on the Middleweight department. With a win, Branch achieves simply that, inserting himself into the immediate title mix behind Whittaker.
TONIGHT at UFC Fight Night 116, Luke Rockhold and David Branch will take on in the main event.