A pivotal middleweight bout between former UFC champion Luke Rockhold and former World Series of Fighting titleholder David Branch will headline the UFC Fight Night card on Sept. 16 in Pittsburgh, Penn. UFC officials announced the bout during UFC on FOX 25 on Saturday.
Rockhold (15-3) hasn’t fought since losing his UFC middleweight belt to Michael Bisping more than a year ago. He was dealing with some knee issues during that time, but also wanted the right fight to get back in the Octagon. Branch, having been the champion in two different WSOF weight classes is the man to lure Rockhold back to the cage.
Having won 10 consecutive fights in the WSOF, Branch moved to the Octagon at UFC 211 in May, where he took a split-decision nod over Krzysztof Jotko, who will also be fighting in Pittsburgh. After 11 consecutive wins, Branch quickly rose to No. 9 in the UFC middleweight rankings. A win over Rockhold would immediately propel him into title contention.
Joining Rockhold vs. Branch in Steel City are several other bouts that were announced on Saturday.
Kamaru Usman will square off with Sergio Moraes, Hector Lombard faces Anthony Smith, and Krzysztof Jotko will fight Uriah Hall.