Luke Rockhold cements contender status with win over David Branch at UFC Pittsburgh
Rockhold submits Branch 4:05 into the opening period
Number three middleweight Luke Rockhold beat David Branch with a flurry of strikes in the second round of a UFC showdown between ranked fighters on Saturday night, re-establishing himself as a top contender in the division.
Rockhold (16-3) took Branch to the ground in the second round and established top control, hammering blows on Branch’s head and neck. Branch submitted 4:05 into the period.
Branch (21-4) showed off his boxing prowess early, backing Rockhold up against the cage with an aggressive attack in the first round. That led the ju-jitsu-trained Rockhold to take him to the ground.
The fight was Rockhold’s first since losing the middleweight title to Michael Bisping last June. Rockhold suffered a knee injury while training for a fight against Jacare Souza in November.
Branch, who entered the fight ranked ninth in the division, took his first defeat since 25 May, 2012, breaking an 11-bout unbeaten streak.