Luke Rockhold to Meet David Branch in UFC Pittsburgh Main Event

Luke Rockhold
Credit: Dave Mandel/

UFC Pittsburgh has its main event. During Saturday’s broadcast of UFC on Fox 25, the UFC announced that former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold would meet ex-WSOF champion David Branch at the event. Numerically UFC Fight Night 116, the card takes place September 16 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.

Rockhold (15-3), who also wore Strikeforce gold, won the middleweight title against Chris Weidman at UFC 194 in 2015, shocking the man who defeated Anderson Silva twice. However, in his first title defense at UFC 199 last June, he was upset by short notice replacement Michael Bisping. Rockhold has sat out ever since, and been vocal about his displeasure with the state of the UFC’s middleweight division.

It appears it’s back to work for the former champ, however. In David Branch (21–3), he meets a former World Series of Fighting two-division champion who recently won his UFC return at UFC 211. Branch has not lost since a 2012 loss to Anthony Johnson under the Titan FC banner. He has won eleven straight since, capturing the WSOF middleweight and light heavyweight titles along the way. Branch defended both titles, including during back-to-back events in WSOF 33 and WSOF 34 late last year.

The move could rejuvenate the middleweight division, as a win by Luke Rockhold could put the former champ close to a title shot, given the upset nature of his original loss. The division also got a boost after Chris Weidman stopped Kelvin Gastelum Saturday.

Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry, and Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith are among the other bouts announced for the September card.