Jared Cannonier ruined David Branch’s Garden party on Saturday night.
Cannonier was almost an afterthought when he named a short-notice replacement in a middleweight matchup against Brooklyn’s Branch at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden. But after a poor opening round, Cannonier turned things on in a hurry in the second, as he finished the durable Branch at the 29 second mark of the second round via TKO.
“It feels good, especially to do it here in one of the biggest stages, the biggest arenas in the world,” Cannonier said. “A lot of people come here looking for fame and fortune and I’m glad I could do the same.
Branch, the former simultaneous WSOF light heavyweight and middleweight champion, had his way during the opening round, scoring multiple takedowns and staying on top of his opponent and smothering him.
But then Cannonier, who was coming down from light heavyweight and has fought has high as heavyweight, landed a game-changing gigantic right hand which dropped Branch. From there, Cannonier unleashed a ground-and-pound assault until the fight was waved off.
“I’m only getting better as time goes by, I can only get better,” said Cannonier, who recently relocated from his home state of Alaska to Arizona. “I’m not wasting my time in the gym, I go in there and take care of business.”
Cannonier is now (11-4), with his ninth career finish snapping a two-fight losing streak. Branch (22-5) is now 2-2 in his second UFC stint.