David Branch is taking some heat from fans and fighters who don’t believe in tapping out to strikes, but the former WSOF champ insists he didn’t just quit against Luke Rockhold last night.
Branch faced Rockhold in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 116, and in the opening round, things went well for the veteran. Branch came out aggressively against Rockhold, and tagged the former champ with some big right hands. Rockhold battled through, however, and in round two, he took Branch down. From there, Rockhold quickly worked his way into mount, and proceeded to batter Branch with punches. The latter attempted to work his way out for a little while, but eventually Branch tapped out.
Well, after the defeat, Branch had this to say, while discussing the fight and why he tapped out (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I just got caught in a position that I couldn’t escape,” Branch said. “I tried to take the punishment as much as I could, I got busted up a little bit and I decided to save the fight for another day and just come back stronger. I took as much punishment as I could. I didn’t just give up. Eventually it came, but I took a lot of knocks before that happened.”
“He was the better man tonight,” Branch added. “He defeated me fair and square. I did not go out there to try to lose that fight. I worked really, really had for a long time leading up to this. I thought the skills that I had and the effort would be enough to get the victory tonight, but apparently it wasn’t. There’s a lot I’ve got to go back and address.”
There are folks who prescribe to some sort of code that you shouldn’t tap-out to strikes, but that’s easy to say when you’re not eating pounding shots from above. It certainly looked like Branch was doomed, so, it’s hard to fault the guy for tapping out. Maybe the ref would have jumped in before Branch went out, but maybe not.
It will be interesting to see what comes next for Branch, as he had some impressive moments in the fight, against a top tier 185’er.