It has been a long time coming, but Luke Rockhold is finally back in the winner's column.
The former UFC middleweight champion defeated David Branch by TKO on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night in Pittsburgh. It was Rockhold's first victory since he defeated Chris Weidman at UFC 194 in December 2015 to claim the belt.
"I wanted to wait for my timing," Rockhold said. "I felt if I got my bearings in the second round I would take control no matter where it goes."
And that he did.
Following a first round with little significant action, Rockhold took control in the second. After getting in the clinch, he was able to take Branch to the ground and easily had full mount for punches. Rockhold then quickly transitioned to Branch's back and pummeled his face from behind.
Branch tried to defend, but in that position he had little answer for the punches raining down on him and tapped out due to strikes. Referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight at the 4:05 mark.
Rockhold, speaking with FS1 after the fight, pleaded for Georges St-Pierre to back out of his upcoming middleweight title bout against Michael Bisping on Nov. 4.
"I'm ready to go, I have no injuries. I'll be ready for November," Rockhold said. "Don't embarrass yourself, GSP. Back out. It's my fight."
Perry wins again in brutal fashion
UFC welterweight Mike Perry dominated Alex Reyes, knocking out his opponent by a brutal knee to the head midway through the first round. Perry (11-1) was able to get Reyes -- who was added on short notice this past week after Thiago Alves pulled out because of travel issues -- in a Muay Thai clinch and finished him off seconds later. It was Perry's second consecutive victory.
Perry said the late change from Alves to Reyes did little to affect his focus.
"I worked my butt off for this," Perry said. "It was supposed to be Thiago in here, but he ran for me. I didn't even really prepare for Alex. I did enough for Thiago and that was going to be it."
After his hand was raised, Perry made sure fans -- and UFC matchmakers -- knew who he wanted in his next matchup.
"I deserve a top 10. Everybody wants to see me beat up Robbie Lawler," Perry said.
Lawler (28-11) is coming off a unanimous decision win against Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 in late July.