Luke Rockhold Strikes David Branch into Submission in UFC Fight Night 116 Main Event

needed a round to knock off the rust after a 15-month
layoff. Once he did, the onetime
Ultimate Fighting Championship
middleweight titleholder zeroed
in on David

Rockhold struck the former two-division
World Series of Fighting
champion with second-round punches in
UFC Fight Night 116
headliner on Saturday at the PPG Paints
Arena in Pittsburgh. Branch (21-4, 3-3 UFC) tapped to strikes 4:05
into Round 2, his run of 11 straight victories at an end.

Not all went according to plan for Rockhold (16-3, 6-2 UFC), who
appeared for the first time since being upset by Michael
at UFC 199. The 32-year-old
American Kickboxing Academy
star struggled to gain a foothold
in the fight in the first round, as Branch met him with merciless
forward pressure and had him reeling against the cage with power
punches at one point. Rockhold withstood the assault and pushed the
Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt into the second round. He struck for
a takedown with a little more than two minutes left in the frame,
climbed immediately to mount and started dropping punches. Branch
rolled from his back to his stomach in an unsuccessful bid to free
himself. Punches continued to fall until the 35-year-old Renzo Gracie
protégé decided he had endured enough.

Perry Knee Fells Reyes

Team Sparta’s Mike Perry
wiped out former King of
the Cage
champion Alex Reyes
with a knee strike in the first round of their welterweight co-main
event. A short-notice replacement for Thiago
, Reyes (13-3, 0-1 UFC) bit the dust 79 seconds into Round

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Perry (11-1, 4-1 UFC) paid no mind to the Octagon newcomer. He
ensnared Reyes in a collar tie along the fence and started ripping
punches and elbows. Perry fired a knee strike up the middle that
flipped the switch. Reyes stiffened before falling to the mat,
where he ate a standing-to-ground hammerfist from “Platinum Mike”
before referee Keith
could rescue him from further abuse.

The 26-year-old Perry has posted back-to-back victories since his
Dec. 17 decision defeat to Alan

Smith Stops Fading Lombard

disposed of onetime Bellator
champion Hector
with third-round punches in their middleweight
showcase. Lombard (34-8-1, 3-5 UFC) wilted 2:33 into Round 3, as
the 39-year-old suffered his fourth consecutive setback and
remained winless since March 2014.

Smith (28-12, 4-2 UFC) sputtered out of the gate. Lombard chewed
into his lead leg with inside and outside kicks, closed the
distance and let his hands fly with rolling right and left hooks.
Near the end of the second round, Smith sprang to life. A thudding
right knocked Lombard off-balance and seemed to shake the Cuban
judoka’s confidence and resolve. Midway through Round 3, Smith sent
a knifing right hand crashing into his counterpart’s face. Lombard
folded and covered up in a kneeling position on the canvas, a
follow-up punching volley from Smith sealing his fate.

A former
Cage Fury Fighting Championships
Victory Fighting Championship
titleholder, Smith finds himself
on a three-fight winning streak.

Gillespie Arm-Triangle Submits Gonzalez

Former Ring of
champion Gregor
submitted Jason
with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of
their featured lightweight clash. Perhaps seconds from blacking
out, Gonzalez (11-4, 1-2 UFC) conceded defeat 2:11 into Round

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Neither man was tentative, as they engaged in a series of
blistering exchanges on the feet throughout a memorable first
round. Gillespie (10-0, 3-0 UFC) walked through a pair of head
kicks, dropped the Millennia MMA rep with a slashing right hand and
executed multiple takedowns, climbing to mount on two

Gillespie elected to forgo the standup early in the second round,
secured another takedown and once again achieved full mount. From
there, the four-time NCAA All-American wrestler went to work on the
arm-triangle. Gonzalez offered up substantial resistance but
ultimately yielded to his advances.

Surging Usman KOs Moraes

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 21 winner Kamaru
knocked out Sergio
in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Usman
(11-1, 6-0 UFC) drew the curtain 2:48 into Round 1, handing the
longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt his first defeat since June
23, 2012.

Moraes (12-3-1, 6-2-1 UFC) stood and traded with the Combat Club
export, doing all he could to keep him at bay. Usman chipped away
with kicks to the lower leg, stalked the 35-year-old with power
punches and waited for his opportunity. A straight right hand
pierced Moraes’ defenses and sent him somersaulting to the canvas
in a semi-conscious state. Usman threw in a hammerfist before
referee Dan Miragliotta could arrive on the scene.

Usman, 29, has won 10 fights in a row.

Unbeaten Ledet Outpoints Anyanwu

kept his perfect professional record intact with a split
decision over former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder
in a three-round heavyweight feature. All three judges
struck 29-28 scorecards: Dave Brogan and Cardo Urso for Ledet,
for Anyanwu.

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A short-notice fill-in for the injured Dmitriy
, Anyanwu (14-5, 0-1 UFC) performed far better than
most anticipated. He tagged Ledet (9-0, 3-0 UFC) with a number of
overhand rights to the head and right hooks to the body. However,
Anyanwu had no answer for the Texan’s jab. Utilizing a height,
reach and speed advantage, Ledet stung the 36-year-old over and
over again, mixing in occasional left hooks and short right hands.
By the time it was over, Anyanwu’s right eye was nearly swollen

The loss snapped Anyanwu’s five-fight winning streak.

Finish Reading »
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