Luke Rockhold’s MMA game has always been a funky style mix, especially coming from a wrestling powerhouse gym like the ironically named American Kickboxing Academy. In a camp that hosts talents like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Cain Velasquez, and Daniel Cormier – and formerly Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch (who recently returned) – Luke Rockhold’s combination of kicks, grappling, and fade-away counter hooks is very much at odds with his training partners.
Rockhold’s size, athleticism, and technical mastery in his areas of expertise (he really is an excellent kicker and grappler) have turned him into one of the world’s best middleweight fighters. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still clear holes in his game. Michael Bisping found one not long ago, when he sparked Rockhold out with a pair of left hands at UFC 199 to win the title. Since then Rockhold has been on the sidelines, having sustained an injury prior to a planned bout with Ronaldo Souza in November of 2016.
This coming September, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the AKA product will return to competition, taking on former WSOF light heavyweight and middleweight champion David Branch. But when Rockhold does so, it will be with some new coaching under his belt, and maybe a few new wrinkles in his striking game.
Rockhold recently announced in a post on Instagram that he’d be spending this coming fight camp in Florida at Combat Club, training with Henri Hooft. Hooft has built a reputation as one of the sport’s best striking coaches, in part because of his long kickboxing career, but also due to the successes of fighters working under him during his time with the now defunct Blackzilians camp.
It doesn’t look like Rockhold has any plans to move away from AKA long term, but at least for this next bout, he’ll be shaking things up a little.
“American Kickboxing Academy will always be my home,” Rockhold wrote in a post on social media. “Due to the injuries and inactivity to our key guys. My team and I have decided it best I prepare for this fight in Florida. All the usual suspects will be in my corner with the addition of @henrihooft. I’d like to thank Henri, Kami Barzini, Greg Jones and all my teammates here in Florida for helping me prepare for this fight. September 16th we ride.”
American Kickboxing Academy will always be my home. Due to the injuries and inactivity to our key guys. My team and I have decided it best I prepare for this fight in Florida. All the usual suspects will be in my corner with the addition of @henrihooft . I’d like to thank Henri, Kami Barzini, Greg Jones and all my teammates here in Florida for helping me prepare for this fight. September 16th we ride.
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