FORMER Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns to the Octagon on Sunday (Manila time) where he will take on David Branch in the main event of “UFC Fight Night 116.”
To take place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Rockhold (15-3) makes his UFC comeback after losing the middleweight gold to reigning champion Michael Bisping in June last year.
In losing the belt by knockout (punches) in the opening round, Mr. Rockhold saw his title reign come to an abrupt end after securing the belt in his previous fight over Chris Weidman.
Against Mr. Branch (21-3), the former champ and currently number three-ranked fighter in the division aims to get his career back on track after suffering an injury that derailed his supposed UFC return in November against Ronaldo Souza.
Mr. Branch (#9), meanwhile, is out to extend his 11-fight winning streak.
His last win was over Krzysztof Jotko by split decision last May. Other fights in UFC Fight Night 116 are welterweight Mike “Platinum” Perry against Alex “Pitbull” Reyes, middleweight Hector “Showeather”Lombard vs. Anthony “Lionheart” Smith, lightweight Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie versus Jason “Nicoya” Gonzalez, welterweight Kamaru “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (#13) against Sergio “The Panther” Moraes, and heavyweight Justin “El Blanco” Ledet versus Zu “8th Wonder” Anyanwu.
UFC Fight Night 116: Rockhold vs. Branch will be shown live on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. over Hyper Ch. 91 in SD or 261 in HD on Cignal TV. Replay is at 6 p.m. on the same day.
In the Philippines, Cignal TV, the country’s foremost direct-to-home (DTH) company, is the home of the UFC after the two groups agreed to an extensive deal that will see the UFC beamed on various platforms. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo