So, if Rockhold hopes to fight for the 185 title anytime soon, a win today is a must.
Former UFC middleweight champion Rockhold went one-on-one with former two-division WSOF title holder David Branch.
"I'm coming for that belt": Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold, who dropped the title to Bisping previous year, has been very vocal in opposition to this fight in what is an already-stacked middleweight division. Branch submitted 4:05 into the period. It was Rockhold's first victory since he defeated Chris Weidman at UFC 194 in December 2015 to claim the belt.
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Rockhold finishes Branch in Round 2!
He relentlessly hammered Branch with vicious ground and pound until he was left a broken man. Branch eventually tapped giving Rockhold the submission victory via strikes in the second round. Shaking off the cobwebs, Rockhold steadied himself and began his own assault in the second round. He couldn't get much action going and Branch easily took round one. Branch tried to defend, but in that position had little answer for the punches raining down on him.
In fact, Rockhold immediately turned his attention to former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who was granted the next shot at Bisping's title at UFC 217 in November. "You don't belong here", Rockhold said while addressing St-Pierre.
Should GSP not make the walk to fight the champion, Rockhold will undoubtedly be ready to step in as a replacement, especially considering interim champion Robert Whittaker will be out with an injury. "Don't embarrass yourself GSP, back out".
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"I wanted to work on the feet more, but he was just rushing forward so much into the clinch and just laying on me" Rockhold said.
A change in opponent didn't hinder Mike Perry, as "Platinum" took it right to Alex Reyes in the co-main event. "I think anybody in this sport, once I get on top of them, they're not going to last long". Perry was originally scheduled to fight Thiago Alves, who backed out of the fight due to travel concerns related to Hurricane Irma.
"He ran from me", Perry said.
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The Trinidadian, however, was out soon afterwards when he drove Plunkett straight to England Test skipper Root at mid-off. Saturday saw Lewis threaten another big score while making fifty off 26 balls, including six fours and three sixes.