Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch UFC Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 9/16/17
Branch vs. Rockhold
UFC: Saturday, September 16, 2017 (PPG Paints Arena)
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Luke Rockhold and David Branch fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 116 at the PPG Paints Arena.
Luke Rockhold enters this fight with a 15-3 record and has won 53 percent of his fights by submission. Rockhold has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a June (2016) loss to Michael Bisping. Rockhold is averaging 4.17 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. Rockhold is averaging 0.56 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Rockhold has had over a year to bounce back from losing the UFC Middleweight Championship and hopes to avoid back-to-back losses for for the first time. Rockhold has established himself as one of the more balanced fighters in the division, as he’s an accurate striker who delvers strong kicks and a good ground and pound, but he’s also a polished wrestler who has nine submission victories. Rockhold is capable of beating his opponent at their game and has finished each of his last five victories. This will be Rockhold’s first fight in Pennsylvania.
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David Branch enters this fight with a 21-3 record and has won 38 percent of his fights by decision. Branch has won his last 11 fights and is coming off a May win over Krzysztof Jotko. Branch is averaging 1.49 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 39.6 percent. Branch is averaging 2.33 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 33.3 percent. Branch looks for his third victory since December and hasn’t lost a fight since his 2012 bout with Anthony Johnson. Branch is a really smart fighter who rarely puts himself in a dangerous position and is solid defensively. While he doesn’t have a knockout in three years, Branch does have pop in his strikes and is a proven takedown artist seven submission victories under his belt. This will be Branch’s second fight in Pennsylvania.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Rockhold performs after being out of the octagon for more than a year. This is also a dangerous fight for Rockhold considering Branch is the bigger / longer fighter, and he has been knocked out three times. Branch isn’t exactly the easiest opponent to fight after such a long layoff. However, I’m still going to side with Rockhold here. His wrestling background gives him the edge if this fight goes to the canvas, and he’s the more accurate striker who will keep Branch honest with his leg kicks. He’s just overall the more balanced fighter in my eyes who can handle whatever Branch throws at him.
Really intriguing fight, but I like Rockhold to get the victory.