UFC Fight Night 147: Darren Till Looking For Redemption
March 13, 2019
England’s biggest UFC prospect is heading home for UFC Fight Night 147. Darren Till will be stepping back into the Octagon in London this Saturday night, the first time he has done so since his failed Championship bout against Tyron Woodley.
Facing across from the Liverpudlian will be Jorge Masvidal. The veteran fighter hasn’t fought since November 2017, but experience is always an influential factor inside the cage. It is a night for the American to try and upset the UFC Fight Night odds, with a victory potentially setting up a title shot in the future.
The UFC’s popularity continues to rise and Dana White has supplied ESPN+ with another big name clash. This weekend, however, the European crowd will just be happy to not be setting their alarms for 2:00 am, with the event being hosted at the 02 Arena in London.
We all know who the home crowd will be supporting, but can Till cash in and deliver?
Narrative Of The Night
There is only one question surrounding the build-up of this fight – how will Till bounce back?
Heading into his last fight, the Liverpudlian was the biggest up and coming name in the sport. He stepped into the cage undefeated after seventeen fights, boasting notable names like Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson to his record. After six impressive performances in the UFC, White then granted Till a shot at the title, coming up against the dominant Woodley.
Despite heading into the fight as the underdog in the UFC odds, there was a feeling of belief in the Gorilla’s camp, as the hype was certainly real. However, as the famous saying goes, ‘there’s levels to this shit.’ Many young prodigies in this sport have to endure a learning curve (take Jon Jones and Aaron Pico for example), with Till’s failed Championship bout being his. Woodley dominated the Liverpudlian at UFC 228, landing some ferocious punches before choking his opponent out in round two.
It was a disappointing night for the highly-anticipated Till, but fans can’t wait to see his reaction inside the Octagon. The Englishman has certainly recognised this, stating that he his in the hunt for a first-round stoppage against Masvidal. A young fighter, with bags of ability, Till is clearly searching for a small slice of redemption. The journey back to the top can be a gruelling path, with Saturday’s fight being the first step in validating that acclaimed reputation of his.
The world of MMA is undoubtedly a complex concept, as there are so many specialists in so many different aspects of fighting. It is, of course, what makes the UFC such a special and unorthodox event. That, and two guys punching each other in the face. This latter point looks the more likely route for the fight to go down this path.
Striking in the UFC is a dangerous tool and whilst this might sound like an ordinary skillset to possess, those who specialise in this area of combat usually control the pace of the fight. Maintaining a strong boxing stance restricts your opponent’s attacking game, as they become wary of being clipped on their way in, whether it be from an attempt of a shoot or simply to land a punch themselves.
Personally, watching a striking specialist at work is my favourite kind of performance in the UFC (Holloway vs Ortega being my top pick of recent fights), and it is a reason why I’m buzzing over this Till and Masvidal matchup.
Gamebred actually comes from a boxing background, but his last performance against Stephen Thompson highlighted the weaknesses in his game. Wonderboy enjoyed some beautiful counters against Masvidal, outpunching his opponent with some quick combinations. The American was dropped and caught on numerous occasions, a factor that Till will look to capitalise on come Saturday night.
Being the bigger guy, the Gorilla will look to cut off the cage and undoubtedly be the instigator of the fight. On paper, nearly all predictions have Masvidal standing up to counter Till on his step in, making this fight an intriguing watch for spectators. If the Liverpudlian wants the job done early, an opening could become available for Gamebred to strike and cause significant damage.
Till vs Masvidal Prediction
The stage is perfectly set for Till to gain a bit of redemption and he would love to do so on home soil. With a London crowd behind him, with arguably a bigger incentive to win, I’m backing the Gorilla to swing through on Saturday night with a victory.
Till’s movement and striking should be too much for Masvidal to handle, as we have seen the American struggle against similar opponents in the past. This is where predicting a type of win becomes interesting though – Gamebred has never been stopped in the UFC. All six of his victories have come via a decision, as Masvidal is one tough man to steamroll through.
However, I am certainly a fan who loves a bit of hype. Till is still a huge prospect in the sport and I’m predicting for him to make fireworks spark in the Octagon come Saturday night. It will be an explosive first round, but I can see the fight being stopped in the second. Expect Till to attempt to land early and I don’t think he will be afraid to open up early in the fight. A risky tactic, but one with high reward.
Prediction: Till via TKO round two – 15/2 with Betfair
Winner Gets Funky?
Kamaru Usman is the current Welterweight Champion, with many fighters in the division now eyeing up the Nigerian Nightmare for his belt. Given White and Woodley’s rather toxic relationship, you can presume that T-Wood will be waiting some time before he receives a shot back at his title.
Instead, it appears inevitable that Colby Covington will be Usman’s first defence of the belt. The eccentric American has been publicly calling out for his chance, even interrupting White’s game of blackjack to do so. Not many fighters could get away with this bizarre behaviour, but we are slowly becoming accustomed to Covington’s ‘jokey’ persona. Having won the Interim title back in June too, this fight makes sense from a PPV and fighting perspective.
So, what next for the winner of Till vs Masvidal? Well, how about a matchup with Ben Askren? Funky made a name for himself at UFC 235, defeating Robbie Lawler in round one via a bulldog choke. Admittedly, the submission didn’t come without a wave of controversy, but Askren showcased his tough demeanour by overcoming an early onslaught from the Ruthless One.
The American will be flying over to London to watch the fight and he has admitted that he would like to fight the winner from UFC Fight Night 147. In terms of setting up future fights, the blueprint seems quite clear from this perspective: the winner of Usman/Covington to fight the winner of Till or Masvidal/Askren. We hope to see these future events but one thing is for sure – the Welterweight division is currently the one to watch.
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As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.