There’s zero doubt in anyone’s mind that the UFC is pushing Darren Till as one of the next big things in MMA. It’s not hard to see why when Till is giant for the 170 pound weight division. He has said multiple times he wants to be a 3 division champion. Till is 16-0 in MMA, and will be fighting in his hometown of Liverpool against one of the most tricky fighters in the UFC Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. In Till’s last fight he ran right through Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, finishing the fight via TKO in the very first round. Cerrone is small for the weight division, so a lot of fans aren’t sold on Darren Till yet. If he beats Wonderboy there will be no doubt that Till is going to be a problem for any welterweight contender in the UFC.
Till will definitely have his hands full Saturday night. Not only does Till have to deal with the pressure of fighting in front of his hometown crowd. He also has to deal with the style of Stephen Thompson. Stephen Thompson has a karate based style, and has been a puzzle for almost every welterweight he’s fought. The only welterweight that was able to solve the puzzle was the current champ Tyron Woodly. Thompson’s stance alone is one that a lot of fighters aren’t use to facing off against. Thompson stands sideways keeps his hands down low, and keeps a lot of weight on his front foot. He can attack you with so many kicks and he’s very good at counter striking. It’s really hard to tell who has the edge in this fight. Joe Rogan described this fight as a “who the F**k knows fight”.
Keys to winning for Till: Till can copy how Woodly fought Thompson and make the fight a chess match. You don’t want to get over aggressive against a fighter like Thompson, because before you know it he counters you, and the next thing you remember is the referee waking you up. If Till can keep it a chess match and somehow find a way to close the distance against Thompson, Till can leave Liverpool victorious. Another key to victory for Darren Till is use leg kicks against Thompson. Thompson keeps so much weight on his front leg and if Till keeps attacking that front leg it could give Wonderboy some problems.
Keys to winning for Thompson: In his past couple interviews it’s apparent that Thompson has the right mindset coming into this fight. He said he’s treating this fight like a title fight and he’s not over looking Darren Till. The Key to winning for Thompson is simple, don’t get over aggressive and let Till be the aggressor. Keep your distance and don’t let Till close the distance on you. Thompson is at his most dangerous when he’s not the aggressor in fights, because it makes it easier for him to counter. There’s a big possibility Till will be over anxious in this fight because it’s in Liverpool. That could very well play in Stephen Thompson’s favor
My prediction: I have gone back and fourth on this fight multiple times. Like I said before this is a who knows fight. We know what Thompson’s capable of inside the octagon; the question is how good is Darren Till? Yes we’ve seen him run through a high level fighter like Donald Cerrone, but Stephen Thompson is an entirely different story. I almost hesitate to make a prediction on this one. The way I believe the fight will play out is a lot like Woodly vs Thompson 2. A slow fight with neither fighter playing the role of the aggressor in the opening rounds. I think the crowd will begin to grow restless which will cause Till to become the aggressor, If Till does become over aggressive that’s going to work in Thompson’s favor. My prediction for this one is Thompson counters Till in round 4 and wins via TKO.
Stephen Caloggero (@steveo_calo)