Fighter Spotlight: Luke Rockhold
Picture Credit: BJPenn.com By: Bryce
The UFC is headed to Pittsburgh this weekend. Their last visit, which was February of 2016, featured bouts such as Donald Cerrone against Alex Oliveira, as well as Cody Garbrandt's rise to Bantamweight promise. This year's main event features former Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold against David Branch, who in March returned to the UFC with a split decision win over Krystof Jotko.
Luke Rockhold is coming off of a string of injuries that have left him out of the octagon since he dropped his belt to Michael Bisping over a year ago. He has been vocal in that time that it was a fluke loss and would not happen again should there be a rematch. While that may or may not happen, Rockhold has been one of 185's elite for a long time now. Debuting in 2007, he only had two fights outside of Strike force and the UFC, beginning his Strikeforce career in February of 2008. He went a very impressive 9-0 in Strikeforce, even winning their Middleweight championship over Jacare Souza.
In his UFC debut, he got murked by TRT Vitor in the first round, but then rattled off five straight wins, including his destruction of Chris Weidman in December of 2015. Rockhold has very heavy hands, but also is slick on the ground, as he has gotten 8 of his wins by submission.
What has lead to a lot of his success in the sport is hit patience and gameplans. With the exceptions of a TRT Vitor and a left hook from Michael Bisping, Rockhold has a near perfect UFC record. He need to remain composed against David Branch and take the opportunities only when they are presented. Along with that, he needs to not hold back in fear of getting caught. If he is too cautious, I see him dropping a decision to the veteran.