Headlining UFC 228 is a Welterweight world title match as champion Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA; 8-2-1 UFC) faces challenger Darren Till (17-0-1 MMA; 5-0-1 UFC). The UFC rankings have Till as the division’s #2 contender, with Woodley at #7 on the pound for pound list. UFC 228: Woodley vs. Till airs live from Dallas, TX this Saturday night, September 8. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on FX and 6:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
This fight is the 4th title defense for Woodley, and the first title shot for Till. It’s also an incredibly close match-up, with most odds hovering near dead even. But in some ways, the most interesting story here is who is not in the match. Colby Covington is, in theory, the interim Welterweight champion (and currently recognized as such by UFC.com), but when he could not take this fight due to medical issues, Till was given the shot. Dana White has said that Covington will be stripped when the fight happens – meaning Covington will lose the title without stepping back in the cage less than three months after winning it.
How do these two stack up?
Woodley: 36 years old | 5’9” | 74” reach
Till: 25 years old | 6’0” | 74” reach
What have these two done recently?
Woodley: W – Demian Maia (UD) | W – Stephen Thompson (MD) | D – Stephen Thompson (MD)
Till: W – Stephen Thompson (SD) | W – Donald Cerrone (TKO) | W – Bojan Velickovic (UD)
How did these two get here?
Tyron Woodley’s 2016 win over Robbie Lawler to claim the Welterweight crown was spectacular – a one round, brutal KO that ended a terrific title run. Woodley is 2-0-1 since, and if he wins here, he will tie Pat Miletich for the 3rd most title defenses in the division’s history (behind only Matt Hughes and GSP). But his reign has not been a good one by any measure. All three of his fights have been much maligned for being boring, and he’s made himself no fans with his insistence that he is a bigger star than anyone else sees him as. There’s a certain Tim Sylvia-esque quality to this run; that’s not a good thing. We’ll see if the sometimes dynamic wrestler-slash-KO-artist can turn fan perception around (or if he even cares to try).
Darren Till is an interesting title contender. At 25 years old, the undefeated fighter is only 5 years into his pro career, 3 years into his UFC career. And honestly, he’s only 2 fights into being truly known to the wider UFC audience. His break-out fight was his extremely impressive destruction of Cowboy Cerrone last October. That one marked him as a force to be reckoned with, and earned him a shot at the tough Wonderboy. Till won that fight, though it wasn’t without controversy, as most felt Thompson deserved the win. Additionally Till, a huge 170 pound fighter, missed weight by a sizable margin for that one – his second time missing weight in his last four fights. Still, he’s here, and he has a major opportunity in front of him.
Why should you care?
Because this could be very explosive – both men are certainly capable of that. And it’s a possible changing of the guard fight, which are always interesting to see. But, fair warning, it could also be really tentative and terrible. I don’t see much of a middle ground on this one. Caveat emptor.