It’s almost like Tyron Woodley had a point to prove when he stepped into the Octagon on Saturday night against young upstart Darren Till.
In the lead up to their fight at UFC 228, all of the attention seemed to be on Till as the 25-year old Liverpool native was touted as the next big thing and perhaps the future of the welterweight division.
Woodley answered back rather loudly by thwarting Till’s challenge in emphatic fashion with a second round D’arce choke submission to defend his title yet again.
By the time the fight started, Till was actually the betting favorite over the champion but none of that affected Woodley, who came storming out of the gate almost immediately when the referee released the fighters from their corners.
Woodley was in Till’s face looking to land punches early and then pressuring the British fighter against the cage while holding onto the underhooks and looking for the takedown.
While the first round didn’t result in much action, Woodley was in control as he was constantly looking for openings while Till was left playing defense.
After feeling out his opponent through the first five minutes, Woodley wasted no time finding an opening as he connected with a thunderous right hand that dropped Till to the mat as the crowd in Dallas came to its feet.
Woodley jumped to the ground and began blasting Till with punches and elbows and it appeared he might get the stoppage but the 25-year old contender did his best to survive by any means necessary.
As the assault continued, Woodley opened a massive cut on Till’s head that began bleeding and there were at least a couple of moments where it looked like the fight might get stopped. Till still managed to survive as he desperately tried to scramble out of the position on the bottom.
Ultimately that served as his downfall because in the attempt to get free of Woodley’s punches, he failed to see a D’arce choke submission being set up from the welterweight champion.
Woodley locked up the choke and moved back into the mount, which left Till no other option but to tap out as the end of the fight came at 4:19 into the second round.
— UFC (@ufc) September 9, 2018
Afterwards, Woodley admitted that he saw the mistake that Till was making that allowed him to set up the fight ending submission.
“He didn’t recognize, I saw him keep letting me slip my hand in there and once he did that I just put the top of his head on my stomach and at that point I knew I was going to get it,” Woodley said about the D’arce choke.
Following the end of the fight, Woodley was also presented with his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a reward for his submission victory over Till.
The victory also served as Woodley’s fourth consecutive title defense as he dispatches yet another contender that was supposed to dethrone him. Instead, Woodley will just polish his title and wait for the UFC to throw the next challenger in his path of destruction.
“What I’m going to do is just continue to fight, whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to beat them up and I’m the best welterweight of all time,” Woodley stated.
— UFC (@ufc) September 9, 2018
As for Till, he was obviously upset with the outcome of the fight but he’s still got a long career in front of him despite this setback in his first opportunity to capture the UFC title.
“Tyron was the better man,” Till said. “S–t happens. I’m just gutted. I’ve had losses before. It just makes you better.”
While Woodley had a couple of performances that could be described as less than thrilling, he certainly silenced any doubters with his win over Till on Saturday night.
Now it appears the reigning welterweight champion will move from this challenge to a showdown against former teammate and recent interim title holder Colby Covington, who was promised the next shot at the title against the winner of the UFC 228 main event.