Rockhold Returns To Face Branch In Pittsburgh

he Octagon® lands in the Steel City for the third time when former UFC®middleweight champion Luke Rockhold faces top contender David Branch< in the main event of UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: ROCKHOLD vs. BRANCHSaturday, Sept. 16 at PPG Paints Arena. The event will air live on FS1.

Rockhold (15-3, fighting out of Santa Cruz, California), ranked No. 3 in the world, makes his highly-anticipated return to the Octagon in pursuit of regaining the division title. A winner of 14 of his last 16 bouts, Rockhold has recorded impressive victories over former division champion Chris Weidman, current champion Michael Bisping and perennial top contender Lyoto Machida. Rockhold’s eight wins by submission and five knockouts are further proof of his ability to finish opponents whether standing up or on the ground.

Branch (21-3, fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y.) is currently ranked No. 9 and knows a victory over Rockhold could immediately launch him into title contention. Branch defeated Krzysztof Jotko by split decision this past May in his first UFC bout since 2011. A jiu-jitsu black belt with five knockouts and seven career submission victories, Branch is ready to show he can match Rockhold whether they are grappling or standing toe to toe.

A potential fight of the night matchup takes place in the co-main event when hard charging welterweight Mike Perry (10-1, fighting out of Orlando, Florida) takes on veteran Thiago Alves (26-11, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida). Perry has won three of his last four bouts with all 10 of his career victories coming by knockout — including five in the first round. Alves has recorded 13 career knockouts and has been victorious in 11 of his last 17 bouts.

Another exciting main card event features powerful middleweights Hector Lombard (34-7-1, 2 NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida) and Anthony Smith (27-12, Fighting out of Omaha, Nebraska). Lombard, who competed on Cuba’s 2000 Olympic judo team, is known for being a fast starter with 22 knockouts on his resume. However, the 5’9” Lombard will be at a distinct height disadvantage against the 6’4” Smith who has 14 wins by knockout, 10 submissions and 15 first-round finishes in his career.

Additional bouts:

· A heavyweight bout between veteran Anthony Hamilton (15-7, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) and up and coming Daniel Spitz (5-1, fighting out of Spokane, Washington)
· A fight that could steal the show, featuring No. 10 middleweight Krzysztof Jotko (19-2, fighting out of Orneta, Poland) against No. 14 Uriah Hall (13-8, fighting out of Queens, N.Y.)
· Fast rising No. 13 welterweight Kamaru Usman (10-1, fighting out of Boca Raton, Florida) Sergio Moraes (12-3-1, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil)
· A battle between undefeated heavyweights Justin Ledet (8-0, fighting out of Rosharon, Texas) and UFC newcomer Dmitriy Sosnovskiy (10-0, fighting out of Moscow, Russia)
· Lightweight submission specialist Gilbert Burns (11-2, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) Jason Saggo (12-3, fighting out of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada)