Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will make his first Octagon appearance in over 15 months later this evening (Sat., Sept. 16, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 116 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., when he takes on rising divisional contender David Branch. As a prelude to the main event matchup, heavy-handed welterweight Mike Perry will welcome Alex Reyes to the UFC ranks, middleweight tank Hector Lombard will try to punch his way past Anthony Smith, Kamaru Usman will look to continue his dominant 170-pound win streak, and prospects Gregor Gillespie and Justin Ledet will aim to keep their undefeated records in tact.
But, before the premier bouts get underway on FS1 starting at 10 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Night 116's “Prelims” action will also go down on FS1 starting at 8 p.m. ET.
Find out what happened right here as the UFC Fight Night 116 undercard recaps roll in real-time:
Tony Martin vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
The FS1 preliminary headliner pitted Canadian lightweight Aubin-Mercier (10-2) against fellow submission specialist Martin (12-4). Both men landed crisp head kicks in the early going, but Martin started to control the action after a clinch battle along the cage. Aubin-Mercier wasted little time in reversing position and scoring a slick takedown. In Round 2, Aubin-Mercier landed another timely takedown along the cage, taking side control and launching short shots. Martin did well to limit Aubin-Mercier’s advancements, but tired after carrying the Canadian’s weight. The third round saw Martin land a beautiful combination early. After a transition to the ground, Martin nearly sunk in a choke, but Aubin-Mercier impressively popped his head out. Martin continued to pressure after grabbing the Canadian’s back, but Aubin-Mercier defended the arms nicely. After a close fight, it was Aubin-Mercier who escaped with the split-decision win.
Anthony Hamilton vs. Daniel Spitz
Rising heavyweight prospect Spitz (6-1) was hoping to earn his first Octagon victory when he traded leather with knockout artist Hamilton (15-8), who had posted a dismal 3-5 record since making his promotional debut in 2014. It didn’t take long for Spitz to land a precise right hand to the back of Hamilton’s ear that dropped the massive heavyweight. Hamilton offered little signs of recovery before the referee quickly jumped in for the 24-second TKO stoppage.
3 fights, 3 KOs! Spitz sends Hamilton to bed in just 24 seconds! https://t.co/Hus9VIgDqG— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 17, 2017
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Uriah Hall
In the first of three middleweight bouts on the card, former Ultimate Fighter standout Hall (13-8) looked to end a three-fight losing streak when he locked horns with Polish striker Jotko (19-3). Both men attacked early on, but it was Jotko who did more damage with a lead uppercut and follow-up left hand. Jotko pressured Hall in order to limits his versatile striking. Mid-way through the first round Jotko landed a barrage of punches that temporarily dropped Hall. Jotko really started to batter Hall with countless uppercuts before dragging “Prime Time” to the canvas. The Polish middleweight landed heavy ground-and-pound before Hall impressively returned to his feet. Hall started to open up a little more in Round 2 with sharp kicks to the leg, body, and head. Out of nowhere, Hall landed a perfectly-timed right hand that dropped Jotko instantly. Hall scored some heavy ground-and-pound before the referee stepped in for the knockout stoppage.
Sweet Christmas! Uriah Hall bounces back from round one beatdown to knock-out Jotko! https://t.co/flD58kCBap— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 17, 2017
Jason Saggo vs. Gilbert Burns
The opening bout of the evening saw two renowned submission specialists try to get back into the lightweight win column, as Brazilian native Burns (13-2) took on Canadian veteran Saggo (12-4). It was heavy hands early on for Burns, who was forced to angle off a mobile Saggo. Burns showed much improvement on the feet with great distance control and shot selection before landing a timely takedown along the cage. In Round 2, Saggo started to open up with straight kicks down the middle followed by combinations inside. Burns found a home for a crisp right hand before picking the Canadian up off his feet and slamming him to the canvas for another impressive takedown. Saggo’s defense was strong, though, as he quickly got back to his feet to land a snapping counter left and more kicks to the body. As the round was ticking down, Burns landing a swooping right hand out of nowhere that instantly dropped Saggo once it connected. Burns needed zero insurance shots as he walks away with the highlight reel knockout.
GOOD NIGHT! Gilbert Burns KOs Jason Saggo in the second round! https://t.co/k7NedgSY1j— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 17, 2017
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 116 fight card, starting with the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" matches at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.