Burns vs. Saggo
To kick off the Night in the prelims, Gilbert Burns faced off against Jason Saggo in a lightweight bout. The first round was back and forth, with Burns securing key takedowns to win the round. The next round was more of the same, but in the last 10 seconds of the round, Burns slipped the jab to Saggo and threw a right overhand bomb that connected with Saggo's chin, knocking him out cold at 4:55 of round two.
Hall vs. Jotko
Next up, Uriah Hall faced top 10 middleweight Krysztof Jotko. Jotko came out as superior early, pressuring Hall and landing heavy combos. He rocked Uriah multiple times and even grabbed for a rear naked choke, but Uriah escaped and they rose to the feet where Uriah managed to land a clean left on Jotko. In the second round, they came out standing and Uriah Hall timed Jotko's jab and threw a perfect overhand right, knocking down Jotko to the ground where Uriah followed him, throwing down ground and pound that warranted the end of the fight by TKO.
Hamilton vs. Spitz
If you thought these two fights went by fast, the next one will knock those out of the park, literally. In the heavyweight bout between veteran Anthony Hamilton and up-and-comer Daniel Spitz, Spitz clipped Hamilton behind the ear, dropping him, and he finished up with strikes to Hamilton's head as ground and pound that were enough for Dan Miragliotta to stop the fight at 0:25 seconds of Round 1!
Aubin-Mercier vs. Martin
Next up in one of the night's two decisions, Olivier Aubin-Mercier showed his improvement over Tony Martin. Aubin-Mercier demonstrated good striking and top control with takedowns in the first two rounds. But in the third, he began to fade, and Martin had him shortly locked in an anaconda choke, which Olivier escaped. Martin maintained top control for the rest of the fight but Aubin-Mercier did more during the first two rounds, earning him the decision victory.
Anyanwu vs. Ledet
In the first bout of the main card, Heavyweight Newcomer Zu Anyanwu faced off against up and comer Justin Ledet. The story of the fight was Ledet maintaining good octagon control and utilizing primarily his jab and lead hook to control the majority of the fight, although Anyanwu did land some heavy power shots. Ledet showed off his chin and also his precision as he coasted to the split decision victory.
Usman vs. Moraes
The next fight brought another finish, however this one was very one sided and a coming out party for a UFC up-and-comer in Kamaru Usman. In his Welterweight fight with Sergio Moraes, he demonstrated very good striking skill and movement, all the way up to his one punch KO of the UFC veteran. Usman won by KO with 2:48 into the first round. This was his first finish in the UFC and he looks to continue making moves in the 170lb division.
Gonzalez vs. Gillespie
In the next bout, we had an insane display by 155lb-ers Jason Gonzalez and Gregor Gillespie. The fight began with Gonzalez landing combos and putting on pressure only for Gillespie to come back with crazy combinations of his own and takedown attempts. Gonzalez showed great heart with his defense and escaped on the ground and got back to his feet to take it to Gregor Gillespie.
They threw punches and Gillespie rocked Gonzalez with an elbow, Gonzalez landed uppercuts on Gillespie that got his attention, and the round ended with Gillespie in side control dropping elbows. In the second round, Gonzalez came out with another headkick that Gillespie blocked and eventually he took down Gonzalez once more. Gillespie worked for the arm triangle choke from the mount and eventually sinched it in tall the way forcing Gonzalez to tap out. Gillespie won via submission in the second minute of round 1. This fight would also earn Fight of the Night, giving each fighter a nice extra $50,000 onto their fight purses.
Lombard vs. Smith
Next up came the Middleweight contest between MMA veteran Hector Lombard, and UFC up and comer Anthony 'Lionheart' Smith. Smith truly lived up to his name this fight, taking early damage in the first two rounds, as Lombard is famous for being extremely powerful and explosive while he's early on in the fight and fresh. Lombard landed many huge punches including a flush overhand right which wobbled smith towards the end of the round, and over the first Lombard also did work on the lead leg of Lionheart.
Lombard was able to bring the same momentum into the second still kicking away at the lead leg of Smith, also landing a 3 piece combination that wobbled him. Smith tried to come back at the end of the second, but Lombard landed another takedown and finished the round on top. The third round was Smith's as he landed a right hand early, and timing Lombard's strikes, he landed a left then a flush straight right that dropped Lombard, and Anthony Smith followed up with a couple of strikes that sealed the deal on his second straight KO win.
Perry vs. Reyes
In our next fight, another finish. Mike Perry's original opponent, Thiago Alves, had pulled out of this fight due to personal reasons. Alex Reyes, a lightweight, was called up as he walked around at 169 and was training for another fight, so he accepted this short notice Welterweight opportunity. This opportunity didn't go for long however. Perry came out swinging in the first, and after he landed a good overhand right, Reyes clinched with him. 'Platinum' Mike Perry maintained control, however, and landed flush elbows from the Thai clinch. Reyes shifts and landed a knee but Perry was able to shift him and land a right knee to Reyes' face, dropping him and ending the fight. This was Platinum's second straight KO victory, and he called for a fight with 'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler in his post fight interview, which could be very interesting going forward.
Rockhold vs. Brand
Now the Main event of the evening, Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch.
In the first round there was a couple of exchanges initially by Branch, then Rockhold. Luke landed a kick to the body, and Branch proceeded to clinch him against the fence. Branch then unloaded a 4 punch combination on Luke, who ate them all, but recovered and was able to separate. Many had been concerned with Rockhold's chin, but he demonstrated that he had toughness here. More clinch work would end out the round, and after what Branch signaled to be an eye poke, the action went on and Rockhold secured a take down as the round ended.
In the second round, Rockhold took over. Branch started with more pressure but eventually Luke got him against the fence and brought him down with a body lock take down. He immediately stepped over into full mount with two minutes left in the round. Branch rolled over and gave up his back in desperation. Rockhold had full back mount with hooks in and began raining down ground and pound strikes and switches to his right hand over and over.
Referee Dan Miragliotta urged Branch to work or he'll stop the fight, which Branch did, but it only prolonged the beating he was taking from Rockhold, who had total control at this point and was committed to the finish. Branch took a couple more right hands to the head before tapping out to strike. Luke Rockhold won via submission due to strikes in round 2.