UFC Fight Night predictions Darren Till vs Derek Brunson Fight card odds start time live stream A pair of middleweights top the marquee in Las Vegas with the latest edition of UFC Fight Night on tap For as much as Darren Till is considered one of the best 185-pound fighters in the world and a legitimate contender to the UFC title, his recent track record can paint a deceiving picture.
Till (18-3-1) has lost three of his last four fights overall and is just 1-1 since moving back up to middleweight in 2019. The brash native of Liverpool, England, has also been forced to pull out of his last two fights against Jack Hermansson and Marvin Vettori due to injury. Even Till’s return on Saturday, headlining UFC Fight Night against Derek Brunson (22-7) at the Apex in Las Vegas, was forced off its original date (Aug. 14) and location when COVID-19 protocols in London forced UFC brass to move the card stateside.
Yet despite his many setbacks and hurdles to get to this point, the 28-year-old Till remains determined he will still fulfill his dreams of one day holding a UFC title and remains undaunted by how much he might need to endure in order to evolve to the point where he’s ready to do so.
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“It reminds me a lot of when Dom Cruz was having all those setbacks and injuries. You’ve just got to come through them,” Till said during Wednesday’s media conference. “Here I am, a few days before it and I’m a very happy man. It has been a test. I think every fight, we have injuries and we just have to get through it.
“As I’m getting older and wiser, I’m realizing that I have a purpose in life. I know who I want to be and who I am. I am out for something and I’m not going to stop until I get it. No injury or whatever is going to stop me on this journey. It’s my journey. People are on it and they come off of it but I’m driving towards something and I have so much motivation.”
In Till’s defense, his recent defeats have come against some of the sport’s biggest names. Till was dropped and submitted by Tyron Woodley in their 2018 welterweight title bout. One fight later, he was leading on the scorecards when Jorge Masvidal, in the midst of a run toward fighter of the year in 2019, knocked him out with one punch. After rebounding to edge Kelvin Gastelum by split decision, Till fell once more when he came up on the losing end of a five-round technical duel with former 185-pound champion Robert Whittaker. “[Till] is very tricky,” Brunson said. “In this game, you are going to win some and you are going to lose some and I wouldn’t say in his losses that he got annihilated. He was winning and he got caught.”
When it comes to perseverance, Till can learn a thing or two from the recent model shown by Brunson. The 37-year-old has gone through a career resurgence over the past two years, following a stretch in which he dropped four of six fights, including three by stoppage against some of the division’s biggest names (Whittaker, Ronaldo Souza and Israel Adesanya).
Brunson, a native of North Carolina who fights out of Sanford MMA in south Florida, credited his switch to a new gym with helping him return to the basics by rounding out his skill set. A focus on patient striking and a heavy lean into his strengths as a wrestler is what followed as Brunson ran off four straight victories, all against rising contenders who entered on a hot streak.
“I would definitely say this is the best stretch of my career,” Brunson said. “We are getting it done against these young, hungry and exciting guys who keep earning a fight against a tough, savvy veteran. I am definitely looking at this as a potential No. 1 contender fight. I have won four fights in a row against these guys that was supposed to have been fighting for titles if I didn’t give these guys their hiccups. If I got out here and I finish Till, with five in a row, I should be next [for the title.]”