- Date & Location: Saturday, September 4 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Odds: Derek Brunson (+145) vs. Darren Till (-175) via Bovada
- Prediction: Till via knockout
Two middleweight competitors who are looking to break into the UFC title hunt headline UFC Vegas 36 from UFC Apex in Las Vegas on September 4.
In that meeting, Derek Brunson, who is ranked No. 5 in the official UFC middleweight rankings, faces the No. 7 ranked Darren Till.
Brunson went 2-1 in his first three UFC fights. After that loss, the American fighter went on a five-fight winning streak that ended with a knockout loss to Robert Whittaker. That setback started a rough patch for Brunson, who went 2-4 during that run. Brunson right the ship in 2019 with a decision win over Elias Theodorou. He is now one victory away from matching his five-fight winning streak. The 37-year-old is coming off a decision win over Kevin Holland in March.
The 28-year-old Till is trying to get things back on track in facing Brunson. Till opened his MMA career on a 17-0-1 run. His first loss came in 2018 when then UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley submitted him in the second round. A knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal followed that setback. The English competitor then moved to 185 pounds, where he won a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum. Till lost a decision to Robert Whittaker in his most recent outing, which took place in July 2020.
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BRUNSON vs. TILL PREDICTION & PICK
This is a tough pick for a few reasons. The first is the records of the two fighters. Under normal circumstances, I would say that Brunson would be the more confident fighter, but Till, even on a 1-3 run, remains one of the most confident fighters you will ever see. Another consideration is cage rust for Till, but again, he came back after over eight months to take Whittaker the five-round distance. The other thing that makes this difficult is level of competition. Brunson might be on the better run ahead of this scrap, but he has not faced the level of competition Till has faced.
Considering all the factors in this contest and the fact that Till is a powerful striker, and that Brunson has five knockout losses on his record, I am siding with the English fighter in this bout.
Prediction: Till -185 via BetOnline.
BETTING VALUE WITH TILL
I believe Brunson has a chance to win this fight if it goes the distance, but I don’t think it will last 25 minutes. Brunson has a history of overextending himself and putting himself in dangerous positions. If he does that and leaves his chin exposed for Till to touch, that could result in a disastrous outcome for Brunson. I’ll acknowledge that Brunson has shored up some of his weaknesses, such as rushing in with his chin exposed, but he has done so against opposition that is much weaker than Till.
Pick: Till via knockout at -185 via SportsBetting.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
I think Till’s age, attitude and power make him the favorite here. He has a tendency to sit back during some fights, but the importance of this bout, especially since current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya seems to be interested in facing Till, should inspire him to be at his best against Brunson.
FIGHT STATS: BRUNSON vs. TILL
|Derek Brunson||Category||Darren Till|
|3.46||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||2.27|
|2.72||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.99|
|3.11||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.54|
|0.5||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.0|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
With these fighters both outside the list of “real” title contenders in the middleweight division, a win here could put the victor one or two fights away from a shot at UFC gold. On the other hand, a loss could find Brunson relegated to gatekeeper status. Till has more of a chance to rebuild after a loss because of his age, but that rebuild might be a lengthy one, even in a division as shallow as middleweight. This is an important 185-pound scrap.
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