The Hype Train Has Been Derailed… Darren Till Has Been Submitted By Tyron Woodley, Who Remains The UFC Welterweight Champion of The World…
If you were smart enough to bet on Tyron Woodley going into this one, then you’re probably feeling pretty smug right now. And still the welterweight champion of the world, he was the underdog going into this fight. That’s pretty crazy when you consider the level of opposition he’s beaten and Darren Till hasn’t.
Till has developed a level of charismatic mystique similar to Conor McGregor during his early UFC rise. The Muay Thai fighter from Liverpool, England, was fighting in his first UFC title fight at the relatively tender age of 25. A lot has been made about how he’s too big for the division – he is – and how he was physically superior to Woodley.
‘T-Wood’ had to make a statement in this one to win the fans back, and he did. This was probably his most exciting, convincing and dominant title defense to date. He showed there are levels to this game or at least levels of preparation, that true champions will have gone through to win.
The Chosen one put on a show, and @KarynBryant, @kennyflorian, and @bisping break it down. pic.twitter.com/efMBioy6Fd
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 9, 2018
Cautious First Round
Till looked very calm as he came out to Sweet Caroline, driving the crowd into a frenzy. However, as Woodley came out to John Legend’s Glory, the atmosphere shifted and he looked very alone in that cage. As soon as Dan Miragliotta started the fight, Woodley went forward, and his power was obvious as Till was backed up against the cage.
Clearly unprepared for the biggest power puncher in the division, he ended up in the clinch, but Till’s height advantage enabled him to stay on his feet, and the pair were separated a little too quickly by the referee. This would happen again, with a similar end result. Dan Miragliotta wasn’t letting the clinch last for long at all.
At the end of the first round, Till had only thrown four punches but would be happy he wasn’t outwrestled. He was told to step up the intensity for the second.
This is where it went wrong for the Scouser. Woodley came forward again and BANG, a huge right hand caught Till, dropping him to the ground. ‘T-Wood’ unleashed vicious ground-and-pound, and it looked for all the world like the fight was going to be stopped. However, credit to the Liverpool fighter’s toughness. He hung in, despite taking a massive elbow to the forehead, leaving a horrible cut.
But he couldn’t scramble out, and Woodley maintained. He shifted position to side control and from there was able to look for a submission. There was nothing that Till could do to defend it and before he knew it, he was tapping out to a D’Arce choke. It was a very clinical performance by Woodley – his first submission win in the UFC.
Amazing moment ❤️@DarrenTill2 & @TWooodley's Mom embrace after the #UFC228 main event.
(via @Peety_Editor) pic.twitter.com/yT9xmpiFiY
— UFC (@ufc) September 9, 2018
There’s no doubt that Woodley made a much-needed statement tonight. He’s been criticized for his overly cautious approach to his title defenses so far – but in fairness, it takes two to tango, and tonight Till was the perfect dance partner to make him look good. In the post-fight interview he said:
“It’s tough to say [who I want next, because every time I say I want to fight a certain person, I don’t get the response I want. What I’m going to do is to continue to fight whoever they put in front of me. I’m going to beat them up. I’m the best welterweight of all-time.”
OK GSP might disagree with him there, but we’ll let him off because he just won. Colby Covington or Kamaru Usman looks likely to be next for the welterweight champion. Meanwhile, Till might finally do the sensible thing and move up to middleweight. He’s only 25 and still has a big future. This might help him in the long-term. We saw how destructive Robert Whittaker has become since stepping up to his natural weight. It only makes sense.