Jared Cannonier made a big statement in his middleweight debut at UFC 230, knocking out respected veteran David Branch.
Jared Cannonier continues to lose weight, going from heavyweight in his first two UFC fights in 2015/2016, then fighting at 205 pounds for five fights, and now will be making his middleweight debut. He comes in on a two-fight losing streak after falling to Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes. Cannonier cut his camp off two weeks short to take this fight on short notice.
David Branch is 2-1 in his current UFC run after dominating in WSOF, serving as a two-division champion. A main event loss to Luke Rockhold prevented him from a top-five spot, but he was able to rebound with a knockout victory against Thiago Santos. He was originally set to fight Jacare Souza on this card, but Souza was bumped to the UFC 230 main event.
Cannonier landed a leg kick right away, then Branch landed a power double leg. Cannonier stood up, landed a few downward elbows, then was taken down again. Cannonier popped up again then landed a knee and threw a flurry at Branch, who defended well. Branch landed another takedown against the cage and began working to get the back of Cannonier. The former heavyweight worked his way up, then landed an elbow on the exit. Branch misfired on another takedown attempt then threw a leg kick. Branch focused on developing his jab, then landed another takedown after a brief hold-up against the cage. Cannonier stood up, broke free, then fired a combination that was capped off by a wheel kick. The round ended with Branch shooting for a takedown against the cage.
Cannonier landed a leg kick, then stuffed a takedown. Branch caught him with a right hand, but Cannonier ate it and knocked Branch down with a right hand of his own. Cannonier pounced on Branch and threw a barrage of punches to earn a stoppage.
Jared Cannonier def. David Branch by TKO (Punches) in Round 2 (0:29)