7 things learned at UFC Liverpool
Darren Till defeated Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision to pick up the biggest win of his career at UFC Liverpool.
History was made in Liverpool as the UFC Octagon visited the Echo Arena for the first time in its 25-year existence.
It was a close decision for the home talent, but he eventually won the bout via unanimous decision.
British talent featured up and down the card with no fewer than seven fighters hailing from the UK.
Here’s what we learned on a night where Darren Till’s star shone the brightest.
Darren Till heading to Las Vegas after a close decision win over Stephen Thompson
After going through the disappointment of missing weight on Saturday, Till did what he promised to do and defeated Thompson in the main event of UFC Liverpool.
Most pundits said prior to the fight that Till would have the advantage if the fight reached the later rounds, and it was Till who came on strong in the fifth and came the closest to finishing the fight when he dropped Thompson with a left hand.
After five intriguing rounds, Till got the nod on the cards via unanimous decision 48-47, 49-46, 49-46 and social media exploded with people debating the result.
Despite the controversy, Till made it very clear after the bout that he would be happy to face any of the other top contenders in the UFC’s 170-pounds division.
We don’t know his next opponent, but speaking after the bout Dana White made it very clear that Till’s next fight will take place in Las Vegas.
Stephen Thompson has to be applauded
He didn’t get the decision on the night, but hats off to Thompson.
The American took a huge risk coming over to the UK and fighting Till in his own backyard and he deserves even more praise for accepting the fight after Till missed weight so badly on Saturday.
Thompson didn’t get the decision on the cards, but he won many hearts and minds both in Liverpool and amongst the wider MMA community.
The loss will sting, but it likely won’t put him too far back in the division and he can get back into the title mix with a few back-to-back wins.
Neil Magny calls out Kamaru Usman after defeating Craig White
Neil Magny picked up his second win in a row after defeating Craig White in the co-main of the evening.
White took the fight on just 12 days notice and Magny got the job done late in the first round after rarely ever looking in trouble.
Magny has long been one of the quieter characters in the welterweight division but after the bout, he took the microphone and made a cold callout.
The American took aim at Kamaru Usman who only last week picked up a big win against former title challenger Demian Maia.
It remains to be seen as to whether Magny will get the fight but given the position of both men in the division it makes a lot of sense for the two to share the Octagon in the near future.
Arnold Allen remains undefeated in the UFC
Arnold Allen picked up his fourth win in a row under the UFC banner but he was pushed to his limits by a very game Mads Burnell.
The Danish fighter came into the bout as a heavy underdog but took the initiative from the outset and used his grappling to both control and frustrate the Brit through rounds one and two.
Such was Burnell’s dominance he looked to be on the way to a clear decision victory, but midway through the final round, Allen sunk in a sneaky D’arce choke to pull out the submission victory from absolutely nowhere.
It may not have been Allen’s most impressive performance, but with four wins in a row now he can start looking at getting a shot at one of the top-15 fighters in the UFC featherweight division.
Tom Breese looked incredible at middleweight
Tom Breese’s middleweight debut was a while in the making, but he showed that it was worth the wait.
The Brit had previously competed at welterweight and had made his way up the rankings before eventually losing to Sean Strickland in June 2016.
After making his decision to move up to 185-pounds public after that fight, Breese then suffered multiple injuries and only returned last evening against the experienced Australian Dan Kelly.
Breese looked to be in superb condition and his performance was equally as impressive. The Brit landed a nice uppercut midway through the first round and then finished the fight after landing strikes with Kelly on the mat.
It was a short showcase of his skills last evening, but it was impressive nonetheless.
Molly McCann’s dream night had a bitter ending
Flyweight Molly McCann made history by becoming the first Scouser to ever make the walk to the UFC Octagon in Liverpool.
McCann received an incredible reaction from the crowd as she made her way out to the cage, but unfortunately, the walkout was the highlight of her evening.
Her opponent, Gillian Robertson, put on a masterclass and used her grappling to great effect to put McCann on her back where she punished her with ground and pound.
The finish came in the second round when Robertson choked McCann unconscious with a rear-naked choke to stun the previously rabid Echo Arena crowd into silence.
McCann had the moment she’d been dreaming about ever since she started in the sport, but it just wasn’t meant to be the perfect night with a perfect ending.
Weight cutting is a real issue and it nearly ruined a special night
Both Darren Till and Molly McCann had issues making weight on Saturday and for a brief period, there was a potential that both fights wouldn’t take place at all.
Thankfully, agreements were reached with all four camps and the fights did take place, but once again the early morning weigh-ins proved to be problematic for many of the fighters on the card.
Till came in 3.5-pounds over the welterweight limit and was forced to weigh-in again on fight night to hit a catchweight of 188-pounds for the fight to proceed.
McCann also had to weigh-in again on fight day and looked far from her best when fighting just a matter of five hours later.
The UFC’s decision to introduce the early morning weigh-ins in June 2016 was made with the intention to give fighters a longer recovery time from weigh-ins to fight night.
Unfortunately, the evidence is stacking up to show that fighters are finding it more difficult to make weight in the early hours of the morning.
This isn’t an easy problem to solve, but it could be time to switch back to traditional method and have fighters weigh-in during the afternoon on the day before the fight.
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