Officials announced the 185-pound matchup on Saturday. The five-round fight will headline UFC Fight Night inside PPG Paints Arena.
Rockhold (15-3) hasn't fought since he suffered a stunning first-round knockout loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 in June 2016. He was scheduled to fight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza last November but withdrew with a knee injury.
A San Jose native, Rockhold missed significant time to the injury but was also unhappy about the middleweight title picture -- namely, a proposed championship fight between Bisping and Georges St-Pierre. The UFC stated recently that it has moved on from that fight.
Branch (21-3) is a former middleweight and light heavyweight WSOF champion. He is riding an 11-fight win streak.
Fighting out of Brooklyn, Branch was cut from the UFC in 2011 but went 12-1 in his next 13 fights to earn an invite back to the Octagon. He is coming off a split decision win over Krzysztof Jotko in May.