This marquee match-up between Chicago’s own Louis “Put The Guns Down” Taylor and hometown two-weight world champion David Branch was heavily dictated by Branch from the start. The New Yorker pushed the pace of the round with a variety of selected shots and a powerful takedown in the middle of the canvas.
Taylor recovered quickly, got back to his feet and the two traded once again before Branch secured another takedown, claimed the back of Taylor and worked for a vicious rear-naked choke with his high level BJJ game. Much of the final moments of the first were Taylor looking to survive before the echo of the bell.
In the second, the #1 middleweight contender forced Branch up against the cage but the two-weight world champion defended any danger bringing them back into the center. Much of the second saw Taylor with a successful grind against the cage, but every time the two disengaged the technical shots of Branch put Taylor in danger. On the feet, the movement of Branch made a major difference in the significance of the Chicago native’s shots.
But it was early in the third round where Branch found himself locked into a guillotine attempt off a takedown by his opponent. Were it not for his composure he may not have escaped considering how deep the choke was. Upon releasing, Branch climbed on the back of Taylor, slipped his arm through and worked rigorously to flatten him out. The round closed with another guillotine attempt by Taylor without success and both men on their feet with their energy significantly fading.
A short break transitioned us back into the same exchange at the top of round four before the champion thrust himself atop Taylor after a takedown. The finale of the round was dominated by Branch on the ground taking us into the 5th where Branch continued to work for a rear-naked choke. The champion would get the tapout in the final round, earning yet another impressive finish to his title reign.
Lightweight Title Fight: Justin Gaethje def. Luiz Firmino via TKO (Stoppage), Rd. 3, 5:00
Welterweight Title Fight: Jon Fitch def. Jake Shields via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Bantamweight Title Fight: Marlon Moraes def. Josenaldo Silva via TKO (Knee Injury), Rd. 1, 2:30
Middleweight Title Fight: David Branch (19-3) def. Louis Taylor via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Rd. 5, 2:00
Welterweight (Swing Bout): Yushin “Thunder” Okami def. Paul Bradley via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Caio Alencar vs. Jared Rosholt via, KO (Strikes), Rd. 1, 1:17
Light Heavyweight: Smealinho Rama (9-2) def. Jake “The Honey Bear” Heun via TKO (Strikes), Rd. 2, 3:30
“Who’s The Toughest?” Catchweight Fight: Shane Kruchten def. Jeremy Mahon, Unanimous Decision (29-28)
Middleweight: Bruno Santos def Vagab Vagabov via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Featherweight: Andre Harrison def. Bruce Boyington via Submission, (Rear Naked Choke), Rd. 1, 1:54
Welterweight: Tommy Marcellino def. Matt Denning via Submission (Guillotine), Rd.1, 3:30