Liverpool FC might not have been able to take the Champions League trophy back home, but Darren Till will have a chance to end the weekend on a good note for Liverpool sports fans. The young Scouser will be fighting top welterweight contender Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC Liverpool. It’s not a stacked card, but the headlining slot should be interesting enough to make it a must-watch event. Regardless, there’s still some good fights on the card, such as Jason Knight vs. Makwan Amirkhani and Neil Magny vs. Craig White.
What: UFC Liverpool (UFC Fight Night 130)
Where: Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
When: Sunday, May 27. The one-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 10:30 a.m. ET, the four-fight FOX Sports 1 preliminary card begins at 11:00 a.m. ET, and the six-fight main card begins at 1:00 p.m. ET also on FOX Sports 1.
Stephen Thompson vs. Darren Till
I didn’t like this match up when it was originally announced, and I still don’t like it now. Don’t get me wrong, Stephen Thompson vs. Darren Till should be an entertaining fight, but it does seem to me that Till is being rushed here.
Till is a very promising prospect and he should be given time to develop; of course, that’s if you want to see him fulfill his potential. I think this will be an uphill battle for Till and I do think he has way more than a puncher’s chance here.
Till has very technical striking and uses his length well. He has good power and speed behind his attacks. Till also has a great takedown defense, a good ability to get back to his feet, and solid submission defense (I doubt he’ll need any of that here). Meanwhile, Thompson shares several attributes with Till, but in his own style. Thompson uses range very well and strikes with precision. Thompson is also quick and powerful with his striking, and is very good at fighting off grapplers.
I wonder how effective a pure striker can be against Thompson without a major threat of a takedown. With Till not being much of an offensive factor on the ground, Thompson’s striking should really open up here. I don’t expect the two to be holding back a whole lot (at least not in the level of the Woodley vs. Thompson fights), so I think we’ll get a pretty active fight. I think both guys show good chins, probably on a similar level. So I see this coming down to who can land cleaner and more often.
I think that fighter will be “Wonderboy.” Thompson is good at avoiding major damage and I think he’ll be more accurate than Till.
Neil Magny vs. Craig White
Neil Magny was originally scheduled to fight Gunnar Nelson, but that fight fell through and now Magny will be taking on Craig White.
White, a Cage Warriors veteran, is 14-7 as a professional fighter and he’s currently on a four-fight win streak. White is primarily a jiu-jitsu guy. He has a dangerous guard and solid top grappling fundamentals. White also has decent takedowns and striking.
This is easily White’s toughest test. Magny is now a true veteran of the sports with over 25 fights in his record. Magny has been fighting at a world-class level for some time now and has proven to be one of the most well-rounded fighters on the UFC roster. Magny can strike at a high level and can grapple and wrestle at a high level too.
I don’t see Magny having much trouble winning here. Magny is several levels ahead of White in the striking game. I don’t see White taking down Magny either, and even if he does, Magny might have a better ground game as well, although not by a lot. I see Magny getting a TKO stoppage here.
Arnold Allen vs. Mads Burnell
I think this one might look a lot like the Allen vs. Amirkhani fight. Allen is a talented grappler, a well-rounded one, but he’s also pretty decent on the feet. Allen doesn’t really have any major holes and can fight almost anywhere the fight goes. Burnell, like Amirkhani, is primarily a grappler who’s most effective on top. Burnell is a physical powerhouse and that plays well with his wrestling and takedowns.
This should be a fun fight filled with great scrambles. I think Allen will ultimately get the nod from the judges here being far more well-rounded than Burnell.
Jason Knight vs. Makwan Amirkhani
I’m a bit torn in this one.
Jason Knight has showed he’s an exciting prospect, but he didn’t look like himself in his last fight against Gabriel Benitez. Typically, we can expect a tough fighter with slick jiu-jitsu and a solid stand up. Knight’s fight IQ is not the best, but that’s also why he’s so much fun to watch. Knight has no problem taking a punch just as long as he can give one right back.
Amirkhani is a very talented grappler that needs work on the feet. Amirkhani is athletic and durable.
I find Knight to have more tools than Amirkhani, but I think Amirkhani has a smarter and more strategic approach to fighting. Tough call, but I see Amirkhani implementing a good game plan and sticking to it to win a decision.
Claudio Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
I’ll go with Nordine Taleb. Claudio Silva is a skilled jiu-jitsu fighter, but he lacks the the wrestling to take the fight where he’s most dangerous. Silva does have some takedowns, but I don’t believe they’re at the level to take down Taleb. On the feet, Silva is decent, but Taleb is a lot more advanced.
I think Taleb will get a stoppage here.
Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart
Either guy can win here.
Eric Spicely is a slick grappler with sneaky submissions. He can also strike a bit, but that’s not his biggest attribute. On the other hand, Darren Stewart is a skilled striker that has a good amount of power and speed. Stewart is far more athletic than Spicely.
It’s either Spicely wraps up Stewart in a submission, or Stewart out-powers Spicely to get a finish on the feet. Tough call, but I think the English fighter will get the win. I think Stewart should be able to stuff Spicely’s takedowns while landing big shots on the feet.