Who Gave Darren Till his First UFC Loss?

Published 08/29/2021, 1:29 PM EDT
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 02: Darren Till of England celebrates victory against Bojan Velickovic of Serbia after their Welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night at Ahoy on September 2, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)


A former European K-1 Muay Thai champion Darren Till made his UFC debut back in 2015. The Liverpool native put on a show in his very first appearance, knocking out Wendell Oliveira Marques in the second round with vicious elbows.

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The Gorilla returning to the octagon

Soon after, Darren Till fought his way to a majority draw against Nicolas Dalby. Following a one-year hiatus, Darren Till came back in 2017 to go on an impressive four-fight win streak in the Welterweight division. By the age of twenty-five, Till had victories against two UFC legends, Donald Cerrone and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

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Confident that he was ready to fight for the title, Darren Till began campaigning for a shot at the reigning welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley.

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 02: Darren Till of England celebrates victory against Bojan Velickovic of Serbia after their Welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night at Ahoy on September 2, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Soon enough, Till and Woodley agreed to the matchup that would take place at UFC 228 in September 2018. Both fighters were relatively respectful of each other during the buildup, apart from a few hilarious and witty comments from Till, who is no stranger to talking trash.

UFC 228: Darren Till vs Tyron Woodley

Come fight night, both fighters looked primed and ready for what many claimed would be a close fight. Right from the start, Darren Till rushed to take the center of the octagon, keeping the champion on the back foot. On the other hand, Woodley preferred keeping his distance while making essential reads.

As the round progressed, Till kept the pressure on but failed to land anything of significance. Eventually, the more experienced Woodley was able to tie Till up in the clinch and press him against the cage. The first round ended with Till attempting a head kick, which Woodley was able to defend with ease.

While the first round was quite uneventful, Till came out guns blazing in the second, only to walk straight into a counter right hand from the champion, which immediately put him on his back.


A disoriented Till looked to cover up as Woodley unleashed thunderous punches and elbows from on top. While a younger fighter would have let the excitement of imminent victory cloud their judgment, Woodley took his time making sure he didn’t gas himself out. After struggling on the ground for over four minutes, Woodley finally worked his way into Till’s half guard, ultimately submitting the 25-year-old with a D’arce choke with less than a minute left to go in the second round.

A gutted Darren Till, who’d just suffered his first loss in the UFC, displayed true sportsmanship by congratulating the champion. The 25-year-old later admitted to being overzealous and overconfident, going into the second round, but wowed to work his way back to another shot at the strap.  

UFC Fight Night: Till vs Brunson

Following his first loss to Tyron Woodley in 2018, ‘The Gorilla’ suffered his second loss, six months later, to Jorge Masvidal, via knockout in the second round. This was enough for the Liverpool native to make the move up to Middleweight, a division more suited to his size and length.

Since then, Darren Till has a record of 1-1 at middleweight, with a split decision victory against Kelvin Gastelum and a loss to former champion Robert Whittaker.

 

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Now, The Gorilla is getting ready to face number five ranked middleweight Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 36. A win against Brunson will allow Till to demand a top-three opponent, bringing him a step closer to the title shot.

Thanks to his exciting style, there are a lot of great fights for Till at middleweight, even the champion Israel Adesanya has said he’d be interested in taking on Till if he gets the job done against Brunson.

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However, Till will look to keep his eye on the prize and deal with what’s ahead of him instead of looking past a dangerous veteran of the division.

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David Andrew

147 articles

David Andrew is an MMA author at EssentiallySports with a background in English Literature from St. Stephens College. Prior to his current role, David, who combines his passion for writing and combat sports, contributed to the MMA divisions at Sportskeeda and The Sportsrush.

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