Darren Till has officially arrived.
The upstart welterweight contender promised a jaw-dropping performance after the UFC finally gave him a top 10 opponent in Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and that’s exactly what he delivered.
With an undefeated record, Till was definitely a prospect on the rise in the UFC’s welterweight division, but he hadn’t faced anyone with the kind of veteran experience that Cerrone had going into Saturday’s main event. Cerrone is one of the winningest fighters in UFC history.
All week long, Till had guaranteed that he was going to shock the world and it didn’t take him long to prove that he belongs among the elite welterweights in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions.
Till showed a ton of confidence early as he stalked Cerrone across the Octagon, looking to use his size and reach advantage with a series of hard, straight punches. Till connected with a solid left hand several times while walking down Cerrone.
Cerrone countered with a couple of takedown attempts, which was a much different strategy than anyone probably expected going into the main event.
It was clear that Cerrone was struggling a bit with Till’s reach as he continuously ate left hands from the British fighter, who looked at least a weight class bigger once they stood next to each other inside the Octagon.
Till’s relentless pressure didn’t slow down until he connected with a vicious left-right combination that had Cerrone on wobbly legs as he backed up towards the cage.
— UFC (@ufc) October 21, 2017
Knowing that Cerrone was hurt, Till turned up the pressure by throwing a barrage of punches in rapid fire succession until he dropped the former UFC title contender down to the mat.
The flurry didn’t stop until referee Marc Goddard saw enough and swooped into stop the fight at 4:20 into the opening round as Till picks up the signature victory he promised.
Afterwards, Till paid tribute to Cerrone for stepping up to accept the fight against him when he knew there was nothing to gain by facing an unranked opponent going into the main event in Poland. From there, Till immediately turned his attention to another welterweight challenger, who just so happened to be sitting cage side for the event.
“I have my eye on Mike Perry,” Till said as Perry climbed up to the Octagon from his front row seat on the outside. “Me and you were meant to fight.”
YES TO THIS FIGHT.
— UFC (@ufc) October 21, 2017
Till charged at Perry as the two fighters began jawing at each other until security intervened to ensure that the fans in Poland didn’t get an extra, unsanctioned fight after the event was already over.
As intriguing as that matchup might be, Perry has business at hand already as he’s scheduled to face Santiago Ponzinibbio at the upcoming FOX UFC Fight Night card in Winnipeg, Canada in December. Should he get through that fight, however, Perry vs. Till might be a matchup the UFC could make in 2018.
As for Cerrone, the loss to Till drops him to 0-3 in his past three fights after looking great through his first few bouts as a welterweight. This latest setback may result in Cerrone exploring the possibility of a return to the lightweight division or perhaps some extra time off after suffering his second TKO loss this year.