Former UFC middleweight champ Luke Rockhold (15-3) will make his return after more than a year when he faces David Branch (21-3) in the UFC Fight Night 116 main event in Pittsburgh on Sept. 16. UFC officials announced the matchup over the weekend.
Rockhold hasn’t competed since he lost the UFC middleweight championship in a rematch with Michael Bisping at UFC 199 in June 2016. Rockhold was expected to face Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza last November but an injury forced him out of the match and he’s been on the sidelines ever since. Prior to the title loss, Rockhold had finished five straight opponents including a Dec. 2015 TKO over Chris Weidman for the 185-pound strap. The 32-year-old American Kickboxing Academy product currently holds the No. 3 spot in the UFC’s official middleweight rankings.
Branch is currently ranked No. 9 in the division and has won his last 11 fights in a row. The 35-year-old former World Series of Fighting middleweight champ made his octagon debut in May with a split decision win over Krzysztof Jotko at UFC 211. Prior to that Branch had been ruling WSOF’s 185-pound division since 2012 where he racked up notable victories over the likes of Paulo Filho, Jesse Taylor, Yushin Okami, Clifford Starks and Vinny Magalhaes among others.
The UFC Fight Night 116 card now includes:
- David Branch vs. Luke Rockhold
- Sergio Moraes vs. Kamaru Usman
- Uriah Hall vs. Krzysztof Jotko
- Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith
- Justin Ledet vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
- Gilbert Burns vs. Jason Saggo
- Anthony Hamilton vs. Daniel Spit
- Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry
Stay tuned to adcombat.com for more updates to this card and all your BJJ and MMA news.