Rivalries: Darren Till

By: Brian Knapp
Sep 1, 2021

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Darren Till now clings to relevance in an Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight division that seems to have largely forgotten him.

The Team Kaobon product will lock horns with Derek Brunson in the UFC Fight Night 191 main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, where their five-round battle figures to provide some clarity for the Top 10 rankings at 185 pounds. Till, 28, enters the cage on the heels of three losses in four outings. He last appeared in the UFC on ESPN 14 headliner, where he wound up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at 185 pounds.

As Till makes final preparations for his showdown with Brunson, a look at a few of the rivalries that have helped shape his career:

Nicolas Dalby

The former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder fought to a majority draw with Till in an entertaining UFC Fight Night 76 welterweight showcase on Oct. 24, 2015 at 3Arena in Dublin. Judges Andy Roberts and Dean Weir struck matching 28-28 scorecards, while Mark Collett saw it 29-28 for Till. Both men flirted with finishes. Till piled up points with straight lefts and punishing body kicks throughout a one-sided first round. The hubris-infused Brit leveled Dalby with a counter left uppercut late in the period and pounced for a potential stoppage, the horn halting his onslaught. After they battled to a virtual stalemate in Round 2, Dalby made a serious move in the third. There, he had a fading Till reeling with a couple of head kicks and a beautiful close-quarters knee strike. The Dane then executed a takedown, climbed to full mount and let loose with hammerfist-heavy ground-and-pound. Till survived and returned to his feet, only to be met by a soul-sapping clinch from which Dalby uncorked standing elbows, punches and knees. Alas, a finish was not to be had. Neither man seemed disappointed when the draw was announced. Till, however, suffered a shoulder injury during he match that kept him out of action for a year and a half.

Stephen Thompson

Till used all five rounds to reel in what remains his biggest fish to date. “The Gorilla” continued his climb on the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight ladder with a contentious unanimous decision over “Wonderboy” in the UFC Fight Night 130 main event before 8,520 fans on May 27, 2018 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. All three cageside judges saw it for Till: 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46. Of the 25 media members sampled by MMADecisions.com, 22 scored it for Thompson. The two men finished in a statistical dead heat. Till outlanded the two-time welterweight title challenger by narrow margins in significant strikes (38-30) and total strikes (40-31) in the competitive 25-minute affair. However, he accounted for the only knockdown of the fight and did so when the spotlight was brightest, bringing the crowd to a boil with an overhand left in the fifth round.

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Tyron Woodley

“The Chosen One” successfully defended the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight crown and did so in sublime fashion, as he submitted Till with a brabo choke in the second round of their UFC 228 headliner on Sept. 8, 2018 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Englishman bowed out 4:19 into Round 2, tasting defeat for the first time in his 19-fight career. Following a slow-paced and uneventful first round, Woodley dropped the hammer. The two-time NCAA All-American wrestler floored Till with a right hand, moved into top position and assaulted him with punches and elbows, one of which opened a cut near the hairline. To his credit, the challenger remained lucid despite enduring a hellacious beating that seemed to go on forever. However, Woodley framed the choke, put Till in a vice and squeezed for the finish, executing his first submission in nearly eight years.

Jorge Masvidal

“Gamebred” found the off switch. The longtime American Top Team representative strengthened his footing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division and blew away Till in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 147 main event on March 16, 2019 at the O2 Arena in London. Masvidal brought it to a shocking close 3:05 into Round 2, halting a two-fight losing streak with his first win in more than two years. After Till dropped the Miami native with a straight left in one of their initial exchanges and went on to control the majority of the first round, Masvidal changed the conversation in an instant. He drew out the Brit’s defenses with a right jab, switched stances and connected with a devastating left hook. Till froze, collapsed and absorbed another blow on the way down, his head bouncing violently off the canvas. Masvidal landed one more punch on his already-unconscious victim before referee Marc Goddard arrived on the scene. Advertisement
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