David Branch (21-4) is a rising star in the UFC's stacked middleweight division, but he's also rapidly climbing the ranks on the coaching side of the sport.
Last weekend at the New Jersey Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (NJBJJF) tournament in Lincroft, N.J., the 36-year-old MMA legend guided his team to a series of impressive victories against a handful of the top jiu-jitsu facilities from across the "Garden State." Branch was a master on the mats, calling out precise directions to put his athletes in the perfect position to reign supreme.
The goal was to win big, and prove to the world that David Branch Jiu-Jitsu is an elite-level gym. His team of young, hungry newcomers did exactly that.
Among the highlights from Branch's team was a victory by surging flyweight prospect Desiree "The Arm-Snatcher" Freeman -- a talent who has been compared to the likes of "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey and Mackenzie Dern. Freeman, a blue belt, delivered a breathtaking performance against a woman who had a massive size advantage.
The New York native imposed her will, taking the match to the mat 30 seconds in, gaining top position and finishing with an armbar at the 4:50-mark of the opening stanza. It was an absolutely flawless performance from one of the most hotly-coveted prospects in the history of jiu-jitsu.
Branch was extremely proud of Freeman's historic win as well as the performance of his other athletes, posting on Instagram that his team showed "tremendous heart and skill" at the event.
Combat sports fans in the New Jersey area can definitely look forward to Branch's team competing at the next NJBJJF tournament, which is tentatively scheduled for February of 2018. As for Branch himself, his next appearance will likely be inside the world-famous Octagon sometime early in the new year.