Darren Till did not let a good opportunity go to waste.
The undefeated Englishman put his name in the conversation as one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top welterweights, as he put away Donald Cerrone with punches in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 118 headliner on Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. Cerrone (32-10, 19-7 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:20 into Round 1.
Till (16-0-1, 4-0-1 UFC) was sensational. He popped Cerrone with quick left hands and kept him on his back foot. Till buckled “Cowboy” with a crisp two-punch combination, sent him careening into the fence with an elbow shiver and swarmed with punches. Cerrone covered up and collapsed to the canvas, where he was met with punch after unanswered punch until referee Marc Goddard had seen enough.
Relentless Kowalkiewicz Dominates Esquibel
Karolina Kowalkiewicz showed no visible regard for Jodie Esquibel’s skills, as she took a lopsided unanimous decision from the Invicta Fighting Championships veteran in the three-round co-main event at 115 pounds. Kowalkiewicz (11-2, 4-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks across the board.
Confronted by a merciless pace she could not keep, Esquibel (6-3, 0-1 UFC) found herself retreating for much of the 15-minute bout. Kowalkiewicz walked her down with straight punches, knees and kicks and nearly finished it in the second round, where she scrambled to the back and surprised the Jackson-Wink MMA rep with an attempted armbar. She kept the pressure on Esquibel down the stretch and continued to move forward with strikes long after she had the fight won.
The win halted a two-fight skid for Kowalkiewicz.
Blachowicz Choke Submits Clark
Former KSW champion Jan Blachowicz submitted Devin Clark with a standing rear-naked choke in the second round of their light heavyweight showcase. A look of sheer panic in his eyes, Clark (8-2, 2-2 UFC) conceded defeat 3:02 into Round 2.
Blachowicz (20-7, 3-4 UFC) set the tone with a series of body kicks, one of which briefly doubled over his adversary. Clark battled back and staggered the Pole with an overhand right but never seemed to find his comfort zone. Midway through the second round, the Jackson-Wink MMA export crashed ahead with punches and wandered right into the Blachowicz’s waiting arms. He weaved the choke into place, tightened his squeeze and elicited the quick tapout.
The defeat snapped Clark’s two-fight winning streak.
Debuting Piechota Overwhelms Wilson
Former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Oskar Piechota made a stellar promotional debut, as he captured a unanimous decision over Jonathan Wilson in a three-round middleweight feature. All three cageside judges saw it the same: 30-27 for the undefeated Piechota (10-0-1, 1-0 UFC), who put all his skills to use.
Wilson (7-3, 1-3 UFC) was outmatched in all phases. Piechota climbed on his back and threatened with a rear-naked choke in the first round, floored him with an overhand right late in the second and did his best work in the third. There, the Polish prospect again maneuvered to the back, transitioned to mount and then went through a sequence of submissions in a bid to finish, moving from an arm-triangle choke and an armbar to a triangle choke and back to an armbar. While none of them were successful, Piechota had made his point.
Operating out of the Millennia MMA camp, Wilson has lost three fights in a row.