On Saturday evening, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold overcame a rocky start to stop David Branch in the second round with strikes from the mount. It was Rockhold’s first fight since losing the middleweight title over a year ago when Michael Bisping knocked him out in the first round and early on, the former champion failed to impress. Despite being a heavy favorite, Rockhold was in trouble in the first round as Branch hurt him with punches several times, prompting some to speculate that Bisping solved Rockhold for the rest of the division.
Chief among those concerned viewers is UFC analyst Kenny Florian who discussed Rockhold’s striking struggles on the most recent edition of his Anik and Florian podcast, saying that Bisping has “set a blueprint” on beating Rockhold that the former champion still hasn’t fixed.
“If you lost that fight to Michael Bisping, you have to be looking at not the fact that you took him lightly, but the technical errors you made in that fight,” said Florian. “He’s done this throughout his career and now people are onto it. Michael Bisping has set a blueprint on how to beat Luke Rockhold and he didn’t address the issue.
“[If I’m Rockhold], I’ve got to keep my hands up. If I am hitting that right hook, I’ve got to pivot or do something to make sure I don’t get hit again because he’s moving straight back and he’s a little bit lazy with that lead right hand which is something I used to do so I know all about that. I think he will address it eventually and it will make him a much better fighter.”
Rockhold didn’t end up needing to address his defensive liabilities Saturday night though as he secured a takedown in the second round and demolished Branch quickly from there, forcing him to submit to strikes. It was yet another example of Rockhold’s brutal efficiency on the mat, and as critical as Florian was of Rockhold’s striking, he was equally as complimentary of his grappling, saying that Rockhold “mentally broke” Branch with relative ease.
“I think that Rockhold is tremendous on the ground; the way he places his body distribution, his knowledge of position is phenomenal. David Branch is a Renzo Gracie black belt . . . David Branch is very good and Rockhold made it look pretty easy on the mat and I think a lot of was from Branch being mentally broken but also a great deal of it was the skill on the ground from Luke Rockhold.”
As for what’s next for Rockhold, despite identifying an exploitable weakness on the feet, if he had his druthers Florian would pit the former champion against one of the hardest hitters in the division Yoel Romero.
“I think a fight against Yoel Romero. If everything plays out the way it should, let’s say Michael Bisping goes on to defend the belt, he gets that next shot against Whittaker, then [Rockhold] fights someone like Romero. I think that’s something that might make sense.”
You can listen to the entire discussion below.
Return. Edmund Tarverdyan wants Ronda Rousey to return to fight with Cris Cyborg.
Trash. Daniel Cormier wanted to throw away his UFC belts after loss to Jon Jones.
Finale. Michael Bisping says he may retire after his fight with Georges St-Pierre.
216. Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee will headline UFC 216 over Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg.
Shogun. Mauricio Rua was dealt with a knee injury for his entire UFC Japan camp.
Extended preview for Ferguson-Lee.
DC wants Jon again.
In honor of Chuck’s return to The MMA Hour, let’s re-visit some of his best work.
Swick defending Rockhold and his perceived arrogance.
Norman Parke interview.
The MMA Hour. The 400th episode of The Hour with a loaded lineup of guests.
The Co-Main Event. UFC Pittsburgh review plus a look at the middleweight division.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
World Flyweight Champsionship. Not the type of thing you expect from a $4B company.
Bout order, new #UFC216 poster indicate Ferguson-Lee interim title fight gets main event over DJ's potentially historic defense. pic.twitter.com/skAXTAyv38— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) September 18, 2017
If Gall commissioned his own belt, that would be pretty solid honestly.
Hearing Jose doesn't want none..? ♂️What's up w/ Korean Zombie? I'd like to fight him too. Any translators that can get him to step up?— Jeremy Stephens (@LiLHeathenMMA) September 18, 2017
Not a bad scrap especially considering Perry and Alves should be re-booked immediately.
Still waiting on @ufc to give me a name but interested to see what the people want— Belal muhammad (@bullyb170) September 18, 2017
You know I'm ready to take that fight. https://t.co/DhonOYgLkr— Jake Matthews (@JakeMatthewsUFC) September 19, 2017
If he wants it at 170, I'll take it at 170.— Jake Matthews (@JakeMatthewsUFC) September 19, 2017
But if Perry-Alves doesn’t get re-booked, this is also great.
@ThiagoAlvesATT heard your in shape already and need a fight. @seanshelby pic.twitter.com/zzgiAj3ocJ— tim means (@MeansTim) September 18, 2017
Kenny Florian 2.0
I finish fights. pic.twitter.com/bcfW6fvTLn— Anthony Smith (@lionheartsmith) September 18, 2017
I dont fight men and apparently @IronLadyMMA doesnt either https://t.co/h3ySyRlUeR— Angela Magana (@AngelaMagana1) September 18, 2017
GF: if I beat you in one on one I can go through your phone— Chase Sherman (@ChaseShermanUFC) September 18, 2017
Yesterday’s MMA Hour was one of the best in recent memory and I highly recommend you go listen to all the interviews when you get the time. Really celebrated 400 episodes in style.
Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
Which fight should be the one headlining UFC 216?
This poll is closed
Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight title
Demetrious Johnson going for history against Ray Borg
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