Darren Till didn’t deliver on his knockout promise against top ranked Stephen Thompson, but he did gift his roaring home crowd a win in the main event of the first ever UFC Fight Night in Liverpool.
The scouser entered the arena to the sound of Neil Youngs “Sweet Caroline” and the crowd erupted for the first time. Immediately from the get go, Till took control of the center of the octagon. Thompson stayed on the outside and moved along the cage, waiting for a scoring opportunity against the much larger foe, whose size advantage quickly became a challenge for the karate fighter and his high kicks. Till meanwhile struggled to pin Thompson against the cage and attacked his legs with side kicks, prompting him to switch his stance multiple times in the second frame.
The third round saw a more impatient Till. He tried to load up on his left, but Thompson either moved away quickly or answered Till‘s attacks with combinations of his own. During one of those, Till caught a finger to the eye, which the crowd immediately took as a reason to boo Thompson, until Till told them not to. The two fighters exchanged hands in the fourth round with Thompson landing the cleanest strike with a left straight to the chin. Thompson continued with his feints and quick movement in the final frame, getting trapped occasionally, but never catching any damaging punches.
That changed in the last two minutes, as Till sent „Wonderboy“ to the canvas with a stunning left. The scouser was all over Thompson but didn’t get the finish. Thompson got back to his feet and even tried to take Till down but couldn’t keep him on the mat. The fight ended with both fighters standing and went to a decision. The judges scored the fight in surprisingly lopsided fashion, awarding Till the biggest victory of his career with 49:46, 48:47 and 49:46 scores.
In the co-main event, Neil Magny scored a first round technical knockout over Gunnar Nelson’s late replacement, Craig White. The Welshman had hoped to control the fight in the clinch but was quickly denied by the stronger Magny. An illegal knee by Magny stopped the action for a moment. White was able to continue, though, and again rushed Magny to the fence. The American knew what was coming and wrestled White to the mat, where he nearly caught his opponent in a choke.
White managed to get back to the feet and into the clinch but got caught with a hard knee to the head that sent him to the ground again. Magny went after White with quick punches and forced the referee to stop the fight at 4:32 minutes in the first round.
UFC Fight Night 130: Thompson vs. Till
27. Mai 2018
Echo Arena in Liverpool, England
Darren Till def. Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision (48:47, 49:46, 49:46)
Neil Magny def. Craig White via TKO (knee & strikes) at 4:32 of Rd. 1
Arnold Allen def. Mads Burnell via front choke at 2:41 of Rd. 3
Makwan Amirkhani def. Jason Knight via split decision (29:28, 27:30, 29:28)
Cláudio Silva def. Nordine Taleb via rear-naked choke at 4:31 of Rd. 1
Darren Stewart def. Eric Spicely via TKO (strikes) at 1:47 of Rd. 2
Tom Breese def. Dan Kelly via KO (strikes) at 3:33 of Rd. 1
Lina Länsberg def. Gina Mazany via unanimous decision (30:27, 30:27, 29:28)
Carlo Pedersoli Jr. def. Brad Scott via split decision (29:28, 28:29, 29:28)
Gillian Robertson def. Molly McCann via rear-naked choke at 2:05 of Rd. 2
Elias Theodorou def. Trevor Smith via unanimous decision (30:27, 30:27, 29:28)