Darren Till will be looking to defend home turf as he attempts to turn back the always dangerous Jorge Masvidal at UFC London.
Welterweight prospect Darren Till has taken the torch from Michael Bisping as the face of the UFC in the UK and already has one world title shot on his resume. An ocean away, grizzled veteran Jorge Masvidal is looking to pick up a victory in his first fight in nearly a year and a half. Only one can take a step forward in the welterweight division at UFC London.
— UFC (@ufc) March 14, 2019
Coming off a fight for the title with Tyron Woodley, there was plenty of talk of whether Darren Till was simply given too much too soon in his career. Only 26-years-old, “The Gorilla” was undefeated and had already turned back dangerous contenders in Stephen Thompson and Donald Cerrone. If the first loss of his professional career had an impact on his confidence, he certainly hasn’t shown it so far. In fact, the first press conference for the event saw him return to form against not only Masvidal but also his fellow Brit Leon Edwards.
The UFC is visibly all-in on Till as the main ambassador for the company in the UK. To date, he has had only six fights in the UFC. By comparison, Edwards has 10 and Jimi Manuwa has 11. Saturday will mark Till’s third headliner in the UK and fourth overall in the UFC, more than both of his countrymen. What’s more, Till is the main event coming off a loss when Edwards is on a six-fight win streak. Why one fighter’s bravado clicks with fans and not another’s can be genuinely confounding. But it is clear that Till galvanizes the fanbase enough at home that the UFC is confident in putting him on the marquee in the biggest city in the United Kingdom.
By the time Till turned pro in 2013, Jorge Masvidal was already a veteran of over 30 fights and making his UFC debut. “Gamebred” is among the most experienced veterans in the UFC. Approaching nearly 50 fights, Masvidal has had stints in Bellator and Strikeforce and faced notable names such as Stephen Thompson, Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, and Paul Daley. Over the years, he’s developed into a dangerously multi-faceted mixed martial artist who has not been stopped in a fight since 2009.
After losing to Thompson in November of 2017, Masvidal spoke out about the difficulty of booking a fight in the sixteen months since he was last seen in the cage. In that time, he went on the Spanish language reality show Exatlon. Similar to MTV’s The Challenge, Masvidal made it 13 weeks into the competition before eventually being eliminated. Previously on the cusp of breaking into the title picture, Masvidal could jumpstart another championship run with a win over Till.
Both men are known for their destructive capabilities on the feet. Till uses his size and physicality to push forward, using a variety of punches and kicks to break down opponents. Against Masvidal, Till should focus on being the aggressor and keeping the American on his heels. “Gamebred” will be looking exchange in the center of the ring so Till should look to stay in his face throughout the fight and keep him with his back to the Octagon.
Masvidal does his best work in the center of the cage and should look to use a diverse attack of punches and kicks to pick apart Till. He should use a decent amount of leg kicks as they will help him to chip away at the gas tank of Till. “The Gorilla” is known for having a brutal weight cut down to 170 and Masvidal should do what he can to slow down Till if he plans to take the fight into deep water.
Welterweight stand-out Ben Askren has been campaigning for a fight against the winner of Till and Masvidal for several weeks and it is hard to see a more entertaining match-up for either man from a marketing stand-point. The title picture is already loaded with Colby Covington, Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Tyron Woodley in the mix so the UFC London main event winner will likely need another victory or two before a championship fight materializes.