UFC Fight Night Pittsburgh was headlined by former UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold who took on David Branch who is relatively unknown in the UFC. The co-Main Event had Platinum Mike Perry taking on Brazilian veteran Thiago Alves but a few days before the event, Alves decided to pull out and Alex Reyes decided to step in and make his UFC debut.
There were some good fights on this card but quite a few fighters were relatively unknown and it turned out that the card wasn’t attractive enough to bring MMA fans to the PPG Paints Arena. The UFC announced a gate of 7,0005 which was the company’s lowest gate so far this year. Most of the fights were pretty one sided, except for the Gregor Gillespie vs. Jason Gonzalez fight which turned out to be a slug fest and got the crowd out of their seat.
Rockhold Finishes Branch In Second Round
The Main Event was a letdown because it was pretty one sided apart from an initial burst by Branch. Rockhold started slow and found himself being pummeled by Branch in the first few minutes. He weathered the storm and slowly took control of the fight by engaging in the clinch and taking Branch to the ground. Rockhold who is making his return to the Octagon after 15 months, looked the superior fighter and finished Branch in the second round by way of stoppage.
Rockhold’s emphatic win by itself sends a clear message to the 185 pound division that he is once again back in the fray. However he made it clear during his post-match interview that his sights are set on current champion Michael Bisping who defeated Rockhold to become the champion. Bisping is set to fight George St. Pierre (GSP) at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden in November and Rockhold is not happy that GSP is getting a shot at the title after a four year break.
Rockhold Believes GSP Will Pull Out
Rockhold also clarified that he wasn’t calling GSP out to fight but instead he was telling him to go back to his Welterweight division where he used to be champion as he was going to get crushed by Bisping. He also told the media that he believes that GSP could suddenly pull out of the MSG card and if that happens, he was going to be ready to step up and take GSP’s spot and reclaim his title from Bisping.