Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will return to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 116 on Sept. 16 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., when he takes on former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) two-division titleholder David Branch. It will be Rockhold’s first appearance since getting knocked out by Michael Bisping at UFC 199 last year to lose his 185-pound title.
In preparation for the return of Rockhold, UFC has opened up its vault and provided fight fans with a look back at one of the California native’s most memorable Octagon performances. The full fight video replay, which can be seen above, showcases Rockhold’s 2015 meeting with former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 15 in Newark, N.J.
After dominating “The Dragon” from the opening bell, Rockhold got on top of the Brazilian in Round 2, landed heavy ground-and-pound, forced him to turn onto his stomach, and proceeded to lock in the rear-naked choke submission finish. It was just the second time Machida had ever been submitted inside of the Octagon (Jon Jones being the first to conquer that stat line) and the key victory that catapulted Rockhold into a middleweight title fight with then champion Chris Weidman.
While Rockhold hasn’t competed since his loss to “The Count” in June of 2016, the former UFC king is only 32 years of age. If he can take care of business at UFC Fight Night 116 and knock off a rising contender like Branch, Rockhold may immediately position himself to challenge for the 185-pound crown in early 2018, especially if Bisping is able to get past Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 in New York City.
For more UFC Fight Night 116 fight card news click here.