Luke Rockhold Makes David Branch Tap To Strikes

Luke Rockhold celebrated his return to the Octagon by beating David Branch on Saturday

Luke Rockhold celebrated his return to the Octagon by beating David Branch on Saturday

The two-hour UFC FIGHT NIGHT PRELIMS from Pittsburgh on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET will feature a collision between lightweights Tony Martin (12-3) and Canada's Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2), Anthony Hamilton (15-7) fights Daniel Spitz (5-1) in a heavyweight tilt, No. 10-ranked middleweight Krzysztof Jotko (19-2) faces No. 14-ranked Uriah Hall (13-8), while bantamweights Luke Sanders (11-1) and Felipe Arantes (18-7-1, 2NC) open the telecast.

Branch (21-4) showed off his boxing prowess early, backing Rockhold up against the cage with an aggressive attack in the first round. Branch kept the heat on and he tagged Rockhold with several hard punches and also scored a quick takedown, keeping the Californian on the defensive.

Now Rockhold reverses the clinch position and lands a couple of knees. He was able to take Branch down and moved to mount. Rockhold suffered a knee injury while training for a fight against Jacare Souza in November. Rockhold recovered and the two broke off. The overhand right was a threat from David Branch as he looked to tag Rockhold.

In his first match since June 2016 Rockhold forced Branch to submit at UFC Fight Night 116
In his first match since June 2016 Rockhold forced Branch to submit at UFC Fight Night 116

Jumping switch kick attempt from Rockhold. Now it's Branch's turn to break free and get back to striking range.

Low kick for Rockhold. Ten seconds remain. Round one comes to an end with Rockhold on top. Body kick for Rockhold now and goes for it again. Now a body kick of his own. Branch caught a kick and landed a right hand. David goes to the body with a kick and then presses Luke against the cage. Rockhold trying for his second takedown of the fight, but nothing doing for now, though he's maintaining control here. He can't get it yet.

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