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Two-time Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Dave Branch (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who signed with the UFC in May, now has his first opponent.

The UFC announced late Friday night that the Renzo Gracie product will be welcomed to the octagon by fellow middleweight Gerald Harris (15-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC 116.

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported Harris' involvement with the July event, though "Hurricane" had been waiting on an opponent to be named.

Featuring a highly anticipated heavyweight title-unification match between current champion Brock Lesnar and interim title-holder Shane Carwin, UFC 116 takes place July 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs live on pay-per-view.

At 6-foot-1, Branch comes to the UFC on the strength of six-straight stoppage wins to open his professional career. In his most recent outing, Branch stopped Derrick Mehman (5-1 at the time) with a second-round rear-naked choke at Bellator 15 in April.

A New York native and Renzo Gracie black belt, Branch also owns wins over John Troyer (10-3 at the time), Dennis Olson (7-2) and Alex Aquino (5-2).

Harris, meanwhile, was first introduced to UFC fans as a cast member on "The Ultimate Fighter 7," where eventual show champion Amir Sadollah defeated the Oklahoma native in the second round of the 32-man tournament. Harris was not asked back to the season's live finale and was instead forced to fend for himself in various regional promotions.

After piecing together six-straight wins outside of the organization, Harris made his UFC debut this past January. Branch is the third-straight promotional newcomer Harris has faced in his UFC career.

For the latest on UFC 116, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
This should be a great fight Gerald harris in his last fight finished mario miranda in a spectacular ko but this will be Harris's hardest fight becasue this Dave branch trains under renzo gracie and hes 6-0!
 

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Sadly BJJ hasn't shown the same dominance as it used to, its a beautiful art, but it seems that a combination of wrestling and good striking is the most dominant form now.
 

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Sadly BJJ hasn't shown the same dominance as it used to, its a beautiful art, but it seems that a combination of wrestling and good striking is the most dominant form now.
Lets just say that there will never be a title holder that is mainly a BJJ fighter. The gap back in the day when Royce fought used to be enormous. Fighters train in everything now, and wrestlers know how to position themselves to avoid a sub.
 

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Lets just say that there will never be a title holder that is mainly a BJJ fighter. The gap back in the day when Royce fought used to be enormous. Fighters train in everything now, and wrestlers know how to position themselves to avoid a sub.
Would you say BJ's BJJ compliments his boxing or vice-versa?

At any rate, I'd be sick if I was Branch, Harris is probably one of the toughest prospects you could fight stylistically. It's going to take a good, rangy striker to post problems for him stylistically. Gerald doesn't have crisp strikes, but he's got power and athleticism and takedown defense. I'd favor him over Branch.
 

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Would you say BJ's BJJ compliments his boxing or vice-versa?

At any rate, I'd be sick if I was Branch, Harris is probably one of the toughest prospects you could fight stylistically. It's going to take a good, rangy striker to post problems for him stylistically. Gerald doesn't have crisp strikes, but he's got power and athleticism and takedown defense. I'd favor him over Branch.
BJ Penn isn't a titleholder :confused05:

BJJ is definitely fading out in the evolution of MMA. It really isn't that hard to defend submissions if you know they're coming and this is evident in the recent decline of fights ending in submissions. You will never see a bjj guy sub his way to the top and win a title in this day and age. BJJ defense is still important but offensively its definitely being phased out.
 

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Would you say BJ's BJJ compliments his boxing or vice-versa?

At any rate, I'd be sick if I was Branch, Harris is probably one of the toughest prospects you could fight stylistically. It's going to take a good, rangy striker to post problems for him stylistically. Gerald doesn't have crisp strikes, but he's got power and athleticism and takedown defense. I'd favor him over Branch.
BJ Penn isnt the right example to my statement, I mean people like Maia, who have bad striking and depend all upon their BJJ skills.

Maia who is considered one of the best BJJ fighters, will never be a champion.
 
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