Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action for UFC Fight Night 116: “Rockhold vs Branch,” which went down last night (Sat., Sept. 16, 2017) inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and airing live on Fox Sports 1.
The promotion’s latest mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined by a Middleweight bout that saw Luke Rockhold force David Branch to tap via strikes (highlights), while Mike Perry made quick work of Alex Reyes by knocking him out in just under two minutes in the co-main event (see it here).
Winner: Luke Rockhold
Who She Should Fight Next: Chris Weidman
Now that Luke is back on the winning track, he can set his eyes on trying to reclaim his Middleweight strap. Though his win over Branch was impressive, it’s not good enough to go straight to a title fight. That said, a rematch against Weidman makes sense, as “All American” has also been pining for a shot at regaining his strap, too. Chris got back in the win column after taking out Kelvin Gastelum, but even that wasn’t enough to get him back to the big dance. The winner of a fight between Luke and Chris should be in line for a title shot. Book it.
Winner: Mike Perry
Who He Should Fight Next: Thiago Alves
After making quick work of Alex Reyes, “Platinum” should get re-booked to face off against Thiago Alves after their fight — which was set to go down at this event — was cancelled due to “Pitbull’s” battle with Hurricane Irma. There really isn’t any other matchup that makes sense for either man at the moment, though he was quick to call out Robbie Lawler. I have a feeling the promotion will book the Alves rematch fight sooner, rather than later. Should Perry win, then a fight against Lawler I am not opposed to.
Winner: Anthony Smith
Who He Should He Fight Next: Sam Alvey
Smith picked up his third straight win and the biggest of his UFC career after handing Lombard his fourth straight loss. Up next, I’d like to see Anthony take on “Smilin’” Sam Alvey. Sam got back in the win column in his previous outing after defeating Rashad Evans. This bout makes sense for both men, who are seeking big wins in an attempt to get a spot back in the top 15 rankings. People — Lombard included — know Smith’s name now, and a win over Alvey will up his stock even further.
Winner: Gregor Gillespie
Who He Should Fight Next: James Vick
Gregor remained undefeated (10-0, 3-0 UFC) by submitting Jason Gonzalez in “Steel City.” Gregor has proven he has the talent and skill set to make some noise at 155 pounds, so the challenges will only get tougher for him moving forward. Up next, I’d like to see him face off against James Vick, James has won two straight and has been trying his hardest to make some noise in the division. A win for their man will boost them up the rankings and help them up their name value.
Winner: Kamaru Usman
Who He Should Fight Next: Demian Maia vs Colby Covington winner
Usman has now won six in a row and has long been after a fight against Demian Maia. Now, all Kamaru has to do is sit back and wait to see how the upcoming bout between Covington and Maia plays out at UFC Fight Night 119 in October after he torched Sergio Morais (see it here). I’d like to see Kamaru take on the winner. He’s earned it, he’s put the time in and won 10 fights in a row including all six fights under the UFC banner. It’s time for him to tkae the next step against bigger and tougher competition.
Biggest Loser: Hector Lombard
The losses keep piling up for Lombard, as he has now lost four straight after he was knocked out sill by Anthony Smith last night in Pittsburgh. Where it all went wrong for Hector is unknown, but it’s obvious he’s not the same world beater that was tearing it up for Bellator MMA, as he has failed to live up to any expectations people had of him since making his UFC debut. Where he goes from here is uncertain, as Hector can’t seem to find a groove and Middleweight or Welterweight.
For complete UFC Fight Night 116 coverage, including play-by-play results, click here.