Rockhold vs Branch | Perry vs Reyes | Lombard vs Smith | Gillespie vs Gonzalez | Usman vs Moraes | Ledet vs Anyanwu | Martin vs Aubin-Mercier | Hamilton vs Spitz | Jotko vs Hall | Saggo vs Burns
Fight Night Pittsburgh main card
Action starts at 10 pm ET
Main event: Luke Rockhold def. David Branch
Luke Rockhold survived a nice early charge from David Branch, but in the end the former champ was too much for the veteran. Rockhold earned a takedown in the second round and went from mount to the back of Branch before getting the stoppage from a tap due to strikes at 4:05 of the second round. Branch was coming forward and pushing Rockhold against the fence with his boxing in the opening round. At one point, Branch landed about four solid punches and seemed to rock Rockhold for a moment with a flurry of punches, but the former champ made it through and then began to implement his gameplan to take back control of the fight. In the second, he used a nice right hook counter to halt Branch’s progressions and then the finishing sequence followed soon after.
THEY SAID IT:
Luke Rockhold: “I’m happy we got the win. I wanted to take my time and be patient, but he rushed the fight. Good for him, he did what he had to do, but I did what I had to do. I’m coming for that belt. This (the 185-pound title fight) fight is my fight. He came at me real hard. I wanted to be patient, to be at my best I’m patient and precise. I’m ready to go, I have no injuries. I’m ready for November.”
Co-main: Mike Perry def. Alex Reyes
Mike Perry was an overwhelming favorite to beat Alex Reyes, who was making his UFC debut on short notice in a co-main event slot, and “Platinum” showed why when he finished Reyes with a knee to head at 1:19 of the first round. Perry came hunting with the big shots early and when he grabbed ahold of Reyes’s neck with a Muay Thai clinch, he unloaded a big knee that dropped Reyes for the finish. After the fight, Perry called out Robbie Lawler.
THEY SAID IT:
Mike Perry: “I was that confident in my ability (that I didn’t need to study much film on Alex Reyes). I like to do things off the top of my head, I’m quite the procrastinator. I just like to do things spur of the moment. I didn’t really know much about Alex (Reyes) going in, but I can’t say nothing because my coaches studied him a little bit. My coach, Julian Williams, was worried about when he gets north south or the front headlock or he ended up grappling. We drilled a few moves to use if he got a takedown. I forgot to say two things in the Octagon – that I’m the best knockout artist in the division and I want to fight on that Detroit card, I’m ready to fight again. I want to fight again ASAP. Dana White, Sean Shelby, please I want to get back in there.”
Anthony Smith def. Hector Lombard
Anthony Smith struggles to get out of the gates early in fights, saying as much after his third-round TKO win against Hector Lombard. In between the second and third rounds, Smith seemed to be trying to get himself amped up, screaming at Lombard and asking him, “Do you know who I am now, Hector?” Smith likely realized Lombard was losing some gas, and turned up his pace in the third and found the big shot and finish at 2:33 of the third round. Smith has now won three in a row.
THEY SAID IT:
Anthony Smith: “It’s a real family. I’ve trained a lot of different places, but it’s never felt like a really family. I’ve always been with Scott Morgan my entire career. It’s just been the two of us and we’ve kind of bounced around a bit. Once we found Factory X, we knew we found a home. We train with a bunch of killers there and it’s just this little gym that no one even knows about. It forces me to stay young, not that I’m old, but I’ve been around this game for a long time. I think the new camp and like I’ve said, I think I’m just a late bloomer and I’m more mature. I think I’ve made my life a lot simpler, it’s just family and fighting. I’m open to fight at 185 or 205. I can keep making the weight, that’s not a problem. I think that there are some big opportunities at 205 and I think I’m one of the few 85’ers that can go up and be right in the mix. How many guys are going to hang with Alexander Gustafsson? I’ve got the size to do it.”
Gregor Gillespie def. Jason Gonzalez
Gregor Gillespie and Jason Gonzalez threw down and traded big punches in an exciting fight. But it was Gillespie who ended up having a little more, able to land four takedowns before sinking in an arm triangle to earn a submission win at 2:11 of the second round. Final numbers showed Gillespie with the striking edge, 50-39 and 34-26 in significant strikes. Gillespie improves to 10-0 and a perfect 3-0 in the UFC.
THEY SAID IT:
Gregor Gillespie: “I think I showed I’m a complete fighter. I don’t think I was trying to prove anything. I was out there doing what I’ve been doing in sparring, my striking coach has been preparing me the right way for the striking. I’ve been sparring with some amazing partners; they’ve been getting me ready and their striking is second to none. I’m good in all those areas, I’m just tying it together better. Everyone likes to say the weight class is so deep, but I don’t have to fight everyone in the division at once. I just have to fight the next guy in line.”
Kamaru Usman def. Sergio Moraes
Now with a six-fight win streak – the longest active streak in the welterweight division – Kamaru Usman was spectacular once again, taking out Sergio Moraes by knockout at 2:48 of the first round with a vicious right hand. Usman was dominating the exchanges on the feet and Moraes seemed to be outclassed from the start of the fight. Usman called out Rafael Dos Anjos after the fight.
THEY SAID IT:
Kamaru Usman: “Absolutely. That was the statement win I’ve been looking for. If people around the world are thinking that I’m not the guy to take that belt away from (Tyron) Woodley, they are crazy. I think RDA (Rafael Dos Anjos) and then I think after RDA is a title eliminator against the winner of Colby Covington and Demian Maia. I want to beat up RDA before the end of the year, early next year fight the title eliminator and then the middle of the year, after Woodley is healthy, I’m taking that belt from him.”
Justin Ledet def. Zu Anyanwu
Despite getting out-struck, 54-47, Justin Ledet was able to take home a close split decision win aainst Zu Anyanwu, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28. Ledet improves to 9-0 and a perfect 3-0 in the UFC.
THEY SAID IT:
Justin Ledet: “I was disappointed in myself and my overall performance. I had an opponent change on seven days’ notice and I was preparing for a grappler. It’s tough.”
Fight Night Pittsburgh FS1 prelims
Action starts at 8 pm ET
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Tony Martin
Olivier Aubin-Mercier collected his sixth UFC win with a split decision win (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Tony Martin in the featured bout of the FS1 prelims. OAM landed four of seven takedown for 5:06 of total control and edged Martin in total strikes, 65-62 on his way to the victory.
THEY SAID IT:
Olivier Aubin-Mercier: “I made a little mistake, but the key was to grind him out against the cage. We’ve seen in his previous fights that he gets tired against the cage and he actually got tired. It was just me, I made the mistake in the third round and I made the fight a little bit closer than it should have been. I think that was my biggest fight. The guy (Tony Martin) was really good and I just came back from a big win and he had three wins in a row. That was my biggest win. Right now, I may not be a top-15 guy because it’s really a stacked division, but I think top-30 would be plausible. I think that’s where I’m at right now – not top-15, but top-30 easily. I would like Charles Oliveira, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, but why not? David Teymur would be a smart fight for me too.”
Daniel Spitz def. Anthony Hamilton
Daniel Spitz dropped Anthony Hamilton with the first big shot he threw and then pounced with some big bombs on the ground before the ref was forced to stop the fight at :24 of the first round to award Spitz the win by TKO.
THEY SAID IT:
Daniel Spitz: “I imagined a knockout (in my first UFC win), the 24-seconds part was kind of cool, we’re not paid hourly. This is amazing, it’s so surreal. I worked really hard for this fight. Fans should expect more of the same moving forward – a giant, in shape heavyweight. They pay me to fight, I don’t care what’s next. I’d like to be on the Detroit card in a couple months, that’d be cool. I think Chase Sherman would be a fun fight. I have nothing against him, it’s not personal. I like the way he fights and it would be fun for the fans.”
Uriah Hall def. Krzysztof Jotko
After getting battered in the first round against Krzysztof Jotko, Uriah Hall collected himself in his corner in between rounds and landed a titanic right hand to knock out Jotko at 2:25 of the second round. Jotko dominated in the first round, landing big bombs and stunning Hall, who had to go into survival mode in the final two minutes to stay in the fight. Jotko landed 61 total strikes in the first round and had a rear naked choke locked for a moment before Hall eventually got the fight back to the feet to end the round. In the second, Hall came out and knew he had to make something happen to stay in the fight. He landed a nice straight right that slowed Jotko’s push forward, which had Hall up against the fence when standing in the first round. Then he landed the overhand right to end it. It’s a massive win for Hall, who had been on a three-fight losing streak.
THEY SAID IT:
Uriah Hall: “The first round I couldn’t find my footing. I was just really nervous to get back in there and I started to think too much about what’s ahead rather than focusing on what is now. After the first round, I realized I lost and I just said ‘F it.’ I just bit down and I knew I had to go forward. I kind of felt extra pressure (knowing I was on a three-fight losing streak) it was just a hard mentality to fight back and forth. It’s tough in a sport like this because it’s a single sport, not a team sport. You’re in and your head thinking that you can’t lose, but I was trying not to think about that because I had no control over it. The second round I started to be here. The only other time I felt an exhilarating feeling like that was after I beat Gegard Mousasi and I was trying to contain my emotions as best I could.”
Gilbert Burns def. Jason Saggo
In an absolute stunning finish, Gilbert Burns laid out Jason Saggo with a perfectly-timed overhand right that dropped Saggo for what was a brutal KO at 4:55 of the second round. Burns’s one-hitter quitter becomes an immediate contender for KO of the Year, as Saggo took the punch right on the chin and then collapsed to the canvas, where he suffered another thud when he dropped head first. The fight was a back-and-forth slugfest through the first two rounds. Burns landed 42 significant strikes to 35 for Saggo and used two takedowns for 1:33 of control time.
THEY SAID IT:
Gilbert Burns: “I feel great. I have great jiu-jitsu, I have great grappling and I was working for a very long time to get my hands better, my striking better. I know I have a lot of power in my hands, but it’s not just the power; it’s the timing, it’s the precision. I was working on the distance a lot. My coach said before the fight not to look for the right hook, but that if I hit him with it, he was going down. As soon as I threw it and I saw the way he was going down, I knew it. I know everyone in this division doesn’t want to go to the ground with me, I know it for a fact. He was playing smart, he was doing a great job, but I think I was winning both rounds. I have a lot of respect for Jason Saggo and I hope he comes back strong, but I think I’m on a different level now. Once I get more comfortable on the feet I’m going to be even more dangerous. I heard Jim Miller is looking for a fight and I’m ready, let’s do it.”