In the second, Branch kept the pressure up, while Rockhold combated his attack by chopping at his lead leg. Branch then pressed Rockhold back against the cage, tying him up.
As the second round got underway, Rockhold opted for a different strategy, as he took Branch to the ground after grinding him against the fence, looking to out-wrestle him.
Rockhold warned Branch before the fight that despite his highly successful run since departing the UFC in 2011, that being back in the "big leagues" would be a whole new ball game - and those words proved prophetic, as the number three contender emerged virtually unscathed after the main event in Pittsburgh. Branch employed heavy pressure, did all he could to capitalize - FightMetric showed him outlanding the favorite by a 36-19 margin in the first round - and seemed to have the Californian reeling with a flurry of power punches inside the first five minutes. A late takedown from Rockhold to close out the round saw the momentum shift, and also gave everyone an indication what was to come next.
Kamaru Usman, the No. 13 welterweight, knocked out Sergio Moraes with a straight right hand to the jaw in the first round. I wanted to take my time and be patient.
No pole but Red Bull confident of Singapore win
Start is an opportunity, strategy, Safety Car, who knows, but tomorrow we're just going to have to play the long game. Force India were eliminated in Q2 with Sergio Perez finishing 12th fastest after complaining about his tyres.
After injuries and other issues, the card ended up with just 10 fights in all - all of them airing live on FOX Sports 1. "I came to UFC to be the champion".
Ever since his loss to Bisping a year ago, Rockhold has been on a mission to return to the middleweight championship and he didn't lose sight of that goal after bludgeoning Branch into submission.
"GSP, I don't know what I need to do, you want me to beat some sense into you?"
"He's the true champion right now", Rockhold said of Whittaker. "You're gonna get crushed. This is my fight". So, if Rockhold hopes to fight for the 185 title anytime soon, a win today is a must.
Of course, it's entirely possible Rockhold could be on stand-by just in case the Canadian happens to fall out of the bout between now and November 4 because there's little doubt he would jump at the opportunity to face Bisping again - even on short notice.
Japan-ROK-US to meet amid DPRK provocations
Trump's speech on Tuesday, and a series of meetings he will hold next week with foreign leaders gathering here at the annual U.N. In addition to Trump and Haley, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R.
Democratic Republic of Congo forces kill Burundian refugees
Six members of the Congolese security forces were killed in the clashes, Congolese army spokesman Dieudonne Kasereka said. Eyewitness Alfred Rukungo said the soldiers continued shooting into the crowd even after some refugees were wounded.
No. 4 USC holds off Texas in 2 OTs
After combining for 32 carries and 238 yards - 166 by Warren - against San Jose State, the two had just nine carries for 24 yards. But given the circumstances, it's hard to have asked for anything more than what the Trojans and Longhorns delivered this time .
Kentucky football opens SEC play against SC
The Cats' next two offensive drives were ended by turnovers, an interception from Stephen Johnson and a fumble recovered by SC . When South Carolina got the ball back, Baity intercepted one of Bentley's passes and the offense kneeled out the clock.