UFC Free Fight: Luke Rockhold Destroys Lyoto Machida To Earn Title Shot

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Luke Rockhold is on a mission to reclaim the UFC middleweight champion, and the first steps of said mission take place this Saturday night at Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh.

The former 185-pound titleholder will square off with former World Series of Fighting two-weight champion David Branch in the main event in the "Steel City," with the winner figured to become a major player in the divisional title race going forward.

Hunting down championship gold is certainly a familiar world for Rockhold, and it's a scenario that has proven to bring out the best the Santa Cruz, CA, native has to offer.

Rockhold looked damn near invincible in his run to claiming the UFC middleweight crown in 2015. He would finish the year by stopping then-champion Chris Weidman via TKO at UFC 194, but Rockhold earned the opportunity to fight for gold by dispatching a former champion in Lyoto Machida.

The surging contender and the former light heavyweight king squared off at UFC on Fox 15 in April 2015, and Rockhold was able to handle "The Dragon" in a way fight fans were not used to seeing Machida get dealt with in the cage. Rockhold controlled the fight from start to finish, and his second-round submission victory over Machida would land him a shot at the divisional throne at the end of that year.

Check out the full fight below:

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