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Morning Report: Kenny Florian believes Michael Bisping set a blueprint on how to beat Luke Rockhold

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Kenny Florian Photos

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.


MUST-READ STORIES

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.


VIDEO STEW

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.


LISTEN UP

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

Branch’s statement.

World Flyweight Champsionship. Not the type of thing you expect from a $4B company.

If Gall commissioned his own belt, that would be pretty solid honestly.

Pickin’ fights.

Not a bad scrap especially considering Perry and Alves should be re-booked immediately.

But if Perry-Alves doesn’t get re-booked, this is also great.

Kenny Florian 2.0

Stay classy.

Vanilla Gorilla.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS


FINAL THOUGHTS

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.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Which fight should be the one headlining UFC 216?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight title
    (749 votes)
  • 51%
    Demetrious Johnson going for history against Ray Borg
    (790 votes)
1539 votes total Vote Now

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