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UFC Fight Night 116: Luke Rockhold submits Branch, tells GSP to back out now

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UFC 199: Rockhold v Bisping 2 Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Luke Rockhold and David Branch clashed last night (Sat., Sept. 16, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 116 on FOX Sports 1 live from inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Luke Rockhold survived an early scare to get his grappling going and trap Branch on the ground for the second-round submission (punches) win.

Rockhold came out kicking, but Branch backed him up with a couple right hooks and Rockhold clinched. Rockhold landed a check hook and then ate about ten punches in a row before managing to clinch with Branch. One had flashbacks to Rockhold’s KO loss to Bisping in his last bout. Branch took Rockhold down briefly. Rockhold got back up and reversed the clinch, landing gut-munching knees on Branch. They separated. Branch pressed forward again and landed another right hand. He refused to give Rockhold any space, and as a result was looking very dangerous. Branch pressed the clinch for a minute, then Rockhold reversed hi and landed a knee. They separated. Rockhold threw a low kick. Rockhold threw a left straight. He threw a spectacular-looking switch kick that Branch blocked. Rockhold got a bodylook and tried to drag Branch down. Somehow he got it, landing on top. Branch locked up full guard until the round ended.

Rockhold stalked forward, with Branch driving forward. Rockhold hit him with that shoveling check hook he likes. Branch was throwing hands and he landed a right straight. Rockhold hit a straight of his own. Rockhold’s kicks were going to the calf as he stood now in orthodox. Branch clinched with Rockhold, pushing him against the cage. Rockhold tried the tie plumb, landed an outside body knee, and reversed the clinch. He got a bodylock and Branch attempted a trip. Rockhold changed levels uncharacteristically for a takedown. He finally used his bodylock to trip Branch down and got full mount. This is Rockhold’s strongest skillset, where he beat Weidman and Machida. Rockhold began unloading on Branch from full mount. Branch gave up his back and Rockhold flattened him out. Branch was nearly helpless, trapped with a minute to go in the round and the ref calls it off after a tap! Great win for Rockhold, who found a way into his deep grappling skillset with an uncharacteristic takedown.

Rockhold seems pissed in the post-fight interview, telling GSP he doesn’t belong here, and that this is his fight. His promo trails off in frustration, but after he goes through his win, he gets in the essential parts: “Don’t embarrass yourself, GSP, just back out now. This is my fight.”

Official result: Rockhold def. Branch via submission (punches, 4:05 of Round 2)

See full UFC Fight Night 116 results, including play-by-play updates, here.