If there was an expected glorious return for PRIDE veteran Paulo Filho, UFC castout David Branch ended any pretensions right away.
Branch opened the bout with a few jabs and then a single leg takedown and moved immediately to half guard. From the get go, Filho looked to be barely resisting anything Branch threw at him. At nearly two minutes into the frame, Branch attempted mount but Filho was able to use an inside butterfly hook to stop and recapture full but open guard. As the round progressed, Branch's ground and pound opened up, although it remained largely a body attack.
To open the second frame, Branch scored with a cross and jab and forced Filho to cover up against the fence. Branch scored a scoop double against the fence and went back to work from there. Filho attempted to stand, but ended up creating a scramble where Branch moved to mounted crucifix and unloaded a series of unanswered strikes. Branch eventually relented the position only to move side to side via intermittent stops at north-south to unload knees to the body and briefly attempted submissions.
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By the third frame, Filho was barely there. A caught kick placed Filho on the mat and Branch wasted no time in following up with strikes on top, sitting in a modified mount position. Branch continued to go to work, until Filho barely managed to recapture full, open guard. Determining there wasn't enough action or activity, referee Kevin Mulhall stood them up with little more than a minute remaining in the bout. From there, Branch destroyed Filho on his feet until the final seconds where he scored another scoop double leg takedown and moved immediately to mount.
The judges scored the bout 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27, all for Branch. The Renzo Gracie black belt moves to 12-3 in professional MMA while Filho slides to 23-4-2.