Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action for UFC Fight Night 116: “Rockhold vs. Branch,” which went down last night (Sat., Sept. 16, 2017) inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The promotion's latest mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined by a Middleweight fight that saw Luke Rockhold beat David Branch down in the second round. In the co-main event, Mike Perry knocked out UFC newcomer Alex Reyes in the very first round.
Biggest winner: Luke Rockhold
It took more than a year for Luke to get back in the win column, and once he stepped it was obvious the layoff didn’t affect him one bit, taking it to Branch, who hadn’t tasted defeat in over five years. Rockhold forced a submission via strikes on round two, though he did have a bit of trouble with David in the opening frame. Indeed, Rockhold proved that his mind is right in the fight game and reminded the rest of the division just what he’s capable of. It will be a while before we see him in a title fight due to the log jam the division is currently in, but after his performance, I’m sure Luke is confident he can take out anyone else they put in front of him on his road back to the big dance.
Runner Up: Anthony Smith
Smith has five fights with four wins inside the Octagon, but we’d forgive if you didn’t exactly know who he is. That’s because for as talented as he is, Smith hasn’t found a way to get into a very crowded limelight. But after taking out Lombard in the third round via strikes, Smith put himself on people’s radar as a legit challenge. Sure, Lombard hasn’t looked like himself in his last few fights, but he still caries strong name value which is a good thing for Smith, who is looking to up his own name recognition moving forward.
Biggest Loser: Hector Lombard
What in he world is happening with Hector? The former Bellator MMA champion has now dropped four in a row which includes his third round KO over Smith. What is next for Lombard is unknown, but you can bet the promotion will try to figure out if Hector is worth hanging on to. His down fall is puzzling to say the least. Whether or not he can end his funk inside the Octagon, remains to be seen, but at this rate, I’d be surprised if Lombard has a place inside the Octagon moving forward.
For complete UFC Fight Night 116 results and coverage click here.