WATCH: Robert Whittaker Beats Darren Till in Stand-Up War

By Darren
WATCH: Robert Whittaker Beats Darren Till in Stand-Up War

This was a middleweight clash with massive implications for the title picture. Robert Whittaker and Darren Till fought in the main event of the latest UFC: Fight Night in Abu Dhabi. The event was originally scheduled for Dublin, Ireland, but moved to the UAE as a result of the global health crisis.

Both men knew that a win would see them move closer to a title shot. This was Whittaker’s first fight since losing his belt in brutal fashion to Israel Adesanya. Meanwhile, Till entered the 185-pound title picture by beating Kelvin Gastelum. Victory for him may even have seen him face the winner of Adesanya v Paulo Costa later this summer.

However, in the end, it was Whittaker who did enough to see his hand raised. The Australian looked impressive against a highly technical Till. Both men had their moments but ‘The Reaper’ delivered more output throughout the fight. Check out the highlights below.

Technical

This was intense from the very beginning with Till walking out in silence instead of his usual ‘Sweet Caroline.’ The opening was cagey. Till came forward but Whittaker countered him. Then the Ozzie burst forward and Till dropped him with a perfectly timed elbow. This left Whittaker dazed and Till was able to get his range for the rest of the round.

If the first round was Till’s, the second was definitely Whittaker’s. ‘Bobby Knuckles’ dropped Till himself and then went put some damage on him on the ground. Till tried to neutralize his hands but took a lot of shots on the ground. Whittaker also compromised his opponent’s leg with vicious calf kicks. A clear round for the former champion.

Output

It looked like Whittaker was very settled in his groove. While Till is excellent at forcing opponents to fight at a slow pace, his output tends to be very low. This proves problematic against fighters who like to blitz as we saw with Jorge Masvidal. It was the same with Whittaker who just did more in the third round, throwing power with every shot.

The fourth round was the closest of the fight. Depending on your perspective it could have gone either way. They both landed strikes with Till landing a sharp combination in the middle of the round but Whittaker was fine. It could have been two rounds apiece or 3-1 to Whittaker depending on your perspective.

Final Round

Finally, we came to the fifth and final round. Whittaker threw a flurry at the start of the round. Then Till threw a straight combo. However, Whittaker stayed a bit busier until Till sliced him open with a vicious elbow. Blood sprayed down the Australian’s face but he did the smart thing. He clinched with Till for the last 20 seconds, going through wrestling transitions until the bell rang.

In the end, Whittaker won a unanimous decision. It was tough for Till who must amend his style moving forward because his counter-fighting just isn’t as effective against high output fighters. Whittaker moves forward back into title contention. Jack Hermansson called out the winner of this fight in midweek and that would make sense.

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