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UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs Branch - Sep 16


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Saturday 16th September in Kurt Angle Country - Pittsburgh, PA...



Luke Rockhold vs David Branch

Mike Perry vs Alex Reyes 

Hector Lombard vs Anthony Smith

Gregor Gillespie vs Jason Gonzalez 

Kamaru Usman vs Sergio Moraes 

Justin Ledet vs Azunna Anyanwu


Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Tony Martin

Anthony Hamilton vs Daniel Spitz

Uriah Hall vs Krzysztof Jotko

Gilbert Burns vs Jason Saggo


OK, this is only a few weeks away. I don't know why there are so few fights announced for this so far. I'm assuming they'll fill it out in the coming days/weeks. But I wanted to talk about this one now so here it is.



Luke Rockhold vs David Branch is a fight I'm looking forward to but one that's very much going under the radar. For a bunch of reasons. For one, Rockhold hasn't fought in a fucking age. He was last seen in June 2016 getting knocked out by and losing the title to Michael Bisping. 14 months away in a sport like MMA will soon make you a forgotten man. And Branch isn't that well known. He was a beast outside the UFC but had a dull fight on his return against Krzysztof Jotko at UFC 211 in May. Add to that the timing of the fight, coming on the heels of Mayweather vs McGregor. Yeah it's no surprise that this one isn't getting much attention. 

But it's a great fight on paper. Everyone knows about Rockhold. Smug as fuck twat. He's taken over from Frank Mir as the smarmiest prick in MMA now. But he's a hell of a fighter. Huge for 185, dangerous in every area, really tricky to deal with on the ground especially. Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champ and apparently moistens the ladies pants like no other in the game.   

Branch is 21-3 in MMA and hasn't lost since 2012. And even then, that last loss was to Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson and he managed to take Rumble the distance which is almost a moral victory in itself. He's riding an 11 fight streak which includes wins over Jesse Taylor, Yushin Okami, Paulo Filho and Vinny Magalhaes. Don't let his lacklustre showing against Jotko fool you, this guy is fucking good. Whether it was the Jotko matchup style-wise that just didn't mesh or Octagon return jitters or what, I think there's definitely better to come from him. 

There's been a little bit of needle between these two as well. I haven't followed it closely but it seemed to start with Rockhold making an appearance on the MMA Hour recently. I don't know what he said on there but it got Branch's back up and resulted in this fantastically silly callout from Branch, from a FUCKING BARBER'S CHAIR of all places...

"Yo Lucas. The fuck is you talkin' man?"


Rockhold's response was pure bemusement and disdain...


I'm very much looking forward to this. Branch is 35 years old now. He's on a good run but this is his chance to prove he can hang at the very elite level. If he can beat a former champ and a highly ranked guy like Rockhold then that's a massive statement made. For Rockhold it's a bit of a high risk/low reward fight. To most he's probably expected to win this. If he wins it doesn't elevate him a great deal and if he loses it looks bad. Branch is a very tough and capable fighter but he's not particularly well known. 



Mike Perry vs Thiago Alves is the easy pick for my ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card. Seriously can't wait for this. Not only is it a killer fight, it's got that heel vs babyface hook as well. Because Perry is a fucking knob. Proper knucklehead div. And Alves is a guy I've been a fan of nearly the whole time I've watched MMA. Regardless, style-wise this has all the ingredients of a tremendous fight. Perry, dickheadedness aside, is such an exciting fighter to watch. He's 10-1 so far and all 10 of his wins were by knockout. His KO over Jake Ellenberger in his last fight was ridiculous. He knocked Ellenberger spark out with an elbow then went straight into a spinaroonie. The visual of this pillock breakdancing with Ellenberger's unconscious body laying in the background was a bit disturbing but it was certainly a sight to behold. Alves has had an up and down career littered with lows of losses, injuries and layoffs mixed with spells of looking like an absolute monster. In his last fight in April, he had one of his best showings in years with a decision over a retiring Patrick Cote. You'd fancy Perry in a fight like this given he's got less miles on him and has been more consistent recently but fuck knows? You never know with Alves. If he shows up on his game this should be an all-out war. 



Hector Lombard vs Anthony Smith could be good. You don't know what you're getting one fight to the next with Lombard though. What we do know is he hasn't looked the same since USADA came in and popped him a while back. People like to point to USADA when fighters dip in form but it's usually just based on pure guesswork. With Lombard there's a clear timeline though, where he looked superhuman against Jake Shields in 2014. USADA came in, he bashed Josh Burkman about in 2015, then failed a test and got suspended. Then since he came back he's gone 0-3. One of those losses he was KO'd dead by geriatric Hendo and his last fight he lost to Johny 'Last Legs' Hendricks. He's still dangerous when he attacks but he's nowhere near the terrifying beast he was a few years back. Anthony Smith scored a stunning knockout over Andrew Sanchez in April so that's what bagged him this name fight. 



Uriah Hall vs Krzysztof Jotko, fuck knows what to make of this. Hall has undeniable gifts as a fighter but he's just so inconsistent and he seems mentally weak. Arguably the biggest TUF flop ever is Hall. He seemed to have so much promise but he's choked time and time again to the point where here he is now coming off 3 losses in a row. They were losses to top guys - Mousasi, Brunson, Whittaker - but if he goes 0-4 here, especially to a lesser name like Jotko, you have to think the UFC might just cut him loose. Could happen as well. Jotko is no scrub. He was on a 5 fight win streak before losing to David Branch in May. 



Kamaru Usman vs Sergio Moraes, on paper, sounds like a good grappling match. Usman's wrestling vs Moraes' BJJ. Usman is the guy who, hilariously, declared after a fight that he was the best grappler in the welterweight division (he's got a whopping ONE submission on his record, btw) then called out Demian Maia. So he's got Sergio Moraes here, a BJJ black-belt and BJJ world champion with medals all over the place. Interesting to see how Usman backs up his claims here. 



Justin Ledet vs Dmitriy Sosnovskiy caught my attention purely because I remember being quite impressed by Ledet's last fight with Mark Godbeer. He's 8-0 with 7 finishes and he's got a 5-0 pro boxing record. Seemed a likeable guy as well if I'm remembering right. This Sosnovskiy I know less about but just looking at his pictures he's a fucking unit. 

So yeah, a decent enough looking card this. 

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I believe David Branch is going to surprise people with his performance against Luke Rockhold. Whether it was nerves, a bad style match or something else, Branch severely underperformed against Krzysztof Jotko and I think that has people underestimating just how good Branch really is. David Branch is really good. It’s not that he’s necessarily great at any one thing, but he’s good at everything; Branch is so well rounded that he’s comfortable wherever the fight goes and that makes him a threat no matter how the fight plays out. Branch is also very big for a middleweight, so I don’t expect Rockhold to be able to overpower Branch or outmuscle him in any way.

David Branch has all the tools to make a real statement in this fight and I believe that he will.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Kamaru Usman fight. Usman’s wrestling is so, so great, a real delight to watch.

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Perry/Alves would have been fantastic, real hit that.

Count me in whos excited to see Justin Ledet back. Rare to see a heavyweight MMA fighter come in with hands like that guy. Strings his punches together and flows real nice, he's good to watch.

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4 hours ago, Carbomb said:

From the looks of things, this Sosnovskiy guy isn't someone to look past. 10-0, with 8 finishes, and one of his KO wins was over Evil Emelianenko.

one to watch then :)

im quite fancying Dave Branch too. For me its a case of whether or not Luke Rockhold is on. If he comes near his championship winning form he should win, anything less and i could see it being a rough night, not to mention coming off a bad KO loss.

Branch is just a solid all rounder and he's done the Championship 5 rounds many times, hes gotta be worth a flutter on the ol' acca.

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3 minutes ago, ColinBollocks said:

Is Uriah Hall the most overrated prospect ever? Mind when people were saying he's the new Anderson Silva? He's miles away from where some people expected him to be.

Had all the tools physically, but not mentally. He's infuriating to watch, as you know he's capable of so much more than he does.

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34 minutes ago, ColinBollocks said:

Is Uriah Hall the most overrated prospect ever? Mind when people were saying he's the new Anderson Silva? He's miles away from where some people expected him to be.

Overrated is probably the wrong word. Unfulfilled potential is more like it. Seems to be one of the best examples of someone who has all the physical gifts but lacks a few key non-physical attributes that really sets the elite apart. 

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