Leave it to the MMA media to completely ignore this weekend’s main event fight in Gdansk between welterweight bangers Donald Cerrone and Darren Till. I mean far be it for the media to actually cover something relevant for a change but I guess headlines titled “CM Punk targeting next fight” will get you more clicks these days than content discussing real fighters.
Nothing against Phil Brooks but give me a break already. I thought Mickey Gall put an end to that but I guess not.
Anyway, enough about our horrendous MMA media. Let’s talk about a young athlete who at 6 feet tall and 24 years old is arguably the future of the welterweight division: Darren Till.
I’ll forgive you if you don’t know his name right now. Again, he’s received very little attention from the media despite going undefeated with several highlight reel stoppages. I’ll even forgive you if you think “Cowboy” Cerrone is going to cut though him like a knife come Saturday night.
After all, you don’t know any better.
You’ve seen Cerrone partake in some of the most brutal wars in MMA history and, more often than not, come out with his hand raised. Cerrone has fought and beaten a who’s who of MMA elites from Eddie Alvarez to Benson Henderson to Edson Barboza—and the list goes on and on.
Even with back to back losses, Cerrone is still a contender and a nightmare opponent for anyone in the welterweight division.
However, I have a very strong feeling that you will come back to this article at the conclusion of UFC Fight Night 118 and say “damn, Fight Purist was right about Darren Till!”
I’m not saying Till’s victory is guaranteed. As I stated above, Cerrone is one of the toughest sharks in the 170 pound ocean. This is a huge test for Till and, as impressive as he has looked thus far, Cerrone might temporarily halt the youngsters tracks.
Cerrone could win this fight and nobody would bat an eye. He’d bump right back into the upper echelon of the weight class and Till would continue climbing on Fight Pass cards and prelims.
Or, the more likely scenario and the scenario that I am willing to bank on is that the UFC’s best kept secret becomes common knowledge.
Fight Purist Official Prediction:
Till beats Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 118 in a thrilling five round FOTY candidate.
The Englishman will bait Cerrone into a pure striking battle where the two will violently attack each other on the feet for 25 minutes. They will trade strikes back and forth in an absolute thriller and give the Polish audience in Gdansk their money’s worth.
Till will put on display his brilliant standup offense and superb accuracy, outstriking “Cowboy” at every corner. We have seen flashes of it in his previous UFC bouts against Bojan Velickovic and Wendell de Oliveira but now we will see it against one of MMA’s biggest names.
Even if Cerrone opts to bring the fight to the floor at some point; where he arguably would have a clear cut advantage, I don’t see Till staying down there long enough for “Cowboy” to snatch up a submission or control him on points.
He’s a tall, lanky guy with an underrated ground game and quite good at scrambling back to his feet.
Make no mistake about it, Cerrone is the better and more experienced grappler but he will have a hell of a time keeping Till on the ground.
After beating Velickovic this past September, Till told UFC announcer Dan Hardy that he’s the best fighter in the welterweight division and in all of the UFC.
Some would call that an arrogant statement or say that it’s too early for the 24 year old to speak so boldly about himself. They said the same thing about another young European fighter a few years ago that seemed to be biting off more than he could chew.
You may have heard of him, his name was Conor McGregor—the biggest star in the entire sport.
I’m not going out on a limb and saying Till will become the next McGregor because those are extremely tough shoes to fill.
I will end with this though, after October 11th, you will know the name Darren Till! The UFC’s best kept secret will no longer be a secret.
Mitchell Ciccarelli is the owner and Chief Editor of FightPurist.com. His work has been syndicated on SI.com and FoxSports.com. He is a U.S Air Force NCO and a brand ambassador for Integrity Driven Nutrition. Follow Mitchell on IG @Sarge_America