British MMA star Darren Till looked to snap his recent skid against up-and-coming South African prospect Dricus Du Plessis on the UFC 282 main card.
Dricus was undefeated in three UFC fights, including two knockouts and one absolute war against perennial contender Brad Tavares. On the other hand, Till had gone 1-3 since his first UFC loss, which came when he challenged Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title. Darren had also moved camps to work with Tiger Muay Thai and All-Stars MMA in Sweden, even creating a friendship with Khamzat Chimaev in the process that has captured the attention of MMA fans. This fight seemed on paper to be a striker’s delight but there was a possibility that Dricus would look to use his submission grappling which he made excellent use of pre-UFC.
Till started the fight pressuring Du Plessis backwards. Twenty seconds in, Dricus shot a takedown and immediately landed it. Du Plessis tried to get on Darren’s back against the cage and hammered short shots in while Darren tried to stand up. Although the shots were not massively damaging Mark Smith warned Till multiple times to fight back or the fight would be stopped. Darren finally got back to his feet but Dricus dropped back on another double leg takedown and immediately got on Darren’s back with a body triangle in. Du Plessis went for the rear-naked choke but Darren was able to defend.
With forty-five seconds left Till got to his feet and rained down punches before transitioning to a d’Arce choke attempt. Du Plessis escaped and they got back to the feet. Darren then tripped Du Plessis off of a caught kick, Dricus reversed, and the first round ended with the South African on top.
The second round started with Dricus looking tired and Darren pressing him backwards. A few big straight left hands got through from Till but Du Plessis stayed on his feet, albeit with poor body language. After a knee landed from Till two minutes in, Du Plessis took him down with a single leg but Darren was able to scramble to his knees and then his feet. Darren landed hard left hands periodically with little in the way of returns from Dricus. Dricus landed a big takedown with one minute left in the round and attempted a guillotine from side control. With only ten seconds left in the round Du Plessis rolled for a leg lock and it looked deep for a moment but Darren survived until the bell.
Darren used a bit more variety in his strikes during the early stages of the final round, throwing knees, elbows, and hooks at times on top of his usual straight punches. Dricus was more active this round, having regained a bit of energy, and he really attacked the legs of Till. The striking was close this round after it was not close in round two. Halfway through the round Dricus Du Plessis landed a takedown and fell right into full mount. Till turned his back to try to get to his feet but the South African immediately flattened Till out, locked up a rear-naked choke, and forced his foe to tap.
Official Result: Dricus Du Plessis def. Darren Till by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 2:43