Darren Till saved the weekend for Liverpool.
The UFC welterweight contender and hometown hero picked up the biggest win of his career in the UFC Fight Night 130 main event Sunday afternoon, defeating Stephen Thompson by decision.
But should he have gotten the nod? Most seem to think not, including 22 of 24 media members who submitted their scorecards for the main event to mmadecisions.com and had it going Thompson’s way.
The bout started out slow, perhaps as expected — the problem was that it never gained much steam through 25 minutes. The way the two fighters’ styles matched up against each other created for a feeling-out process during most of the main event.
Thompson, a counter striker, did pretty well as Till walked him down. He tagged his opponent a few times and chopped Till down with leg kicks, but Till landed his fair share of leg kicks, too. Neither man committed on too much offense during the entire fight.
That was until late in the fifth round, when Till knocked “Wonderboy” down with a damaging left hand. He briefly went to the ground with Thompson, but the former title challenger recovered quickly and got back to his feet. The bout finished on the feet, and, for the judges, anyway, that late flurry sealed the deal for the rising star in Till.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Till vs. Thompson was highly anticipated by most fans and pundits, but unfortunately, it didn’t exactly live up to expectations. In hindsight, that isn’t all that surprising, considering the similarities in styles for both athletes.
The biggest moment of the fight came from Till — the aforementioned knockdown in the final round. Though Till seemed more tentative than usual in his first UFC main event, he showed that he was certainly still going for it late in the fight by hurting Thompson in the fifth round.
Till knocking down Thompson felt like deja vu for many fans, especially because it was such a close contest leading up to that punch. It was very reminiscent of Thompson’s two fights with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who rocked Thompson late in both of their fights (and went on to draw with Thompson, then win by decision in the rematch).
In a fight with little to get excited about, Till’s late knockdown was the highlight.
What’s next for both fighters?
With a win over the No. 1-ranked welterweight, Till is extremely close to a crack at Woodley’s title. Unfortunately for him, Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington are set to square off for the interim title at UFC 225 next month, and the winner of that bout is expected to face “The Chosen One” next. In the mean time, I’d be OK with a title eliminator between Till and Kamaru Usman.
Thompson suffered a setback in Liverpool, but it wasn’t too drastic because of the controversial decision. Throw him in there with the dos Anjos-Covington loser and that works for me.
Watch now, later, or never?
I hate saying this, because Till and Thompson are both such talented fighters, but this fight probably isn’t worth your time.