Luke Rockhold successfully returned to the UFC after a 15-month layoff, defeating David Branch in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Things looked a bit shaky for Rockhold at the start, however. Branch utilized his jab to the best of his ability, taking Rockhold to the fence and rocking him with a hard combination. Branch got a takedown, though Rockhold quickly got back to his feet. Rockhold got in some knees to the body before the two clinched for a good remaining portion of the opening round. Rockhold, to his credit, did get a takedown and end the round on top before the end of round one.
Branch came out firing on all cylinders again in the second, and Rockhold has to quickly find a way to clinch up. Rockhold landed a hard knee before scoring another takedown and getting into full mount. Branch gave up his back, and Rockhold fired away with a multitude of shots before submitting to the strikes.
UFC Pittsburgh Main Card (FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET)
Middleweight: Luke Rockhold def. David Branch via submission (strikes) (Rd. 2, 4:05)
Welterweight: Mike Perry def. Alex Reyes via KO (Rd. 1, 1:19)
Middleweight: Anthony Smith def. Hector Lombard via TKO (Rd. 3, 2:33)
Lightweight: Gregor Gillespie def. Jason Gonzalez via submission (arm-triangle) (Rd. 2, 2:11)
Welterweight: Kamaru Usman def. Sergio Moraes via KO (Rd. 1, 2:48)
Heavyweight: Justin Ledet def. Zu Anyanwu via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
UFC Pittsburgh Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
Lightweight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Tony Martin via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Daniel Spitz def. Anthony Hamilton via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:24)
Middleweight: Uriah Hall def. Krzysztof Jotko via KO (Rd. 2, 2:25)
Lightweight: Gilbert Burns def. Jason Saggo via KO (Rd. 2, 4:55)