Darren Till will clash with Derek Brunson in the middleweight ranks this weekend for what is set to be arguably the biggest clash in the division for those waiting outside of the title contention spots, as Robert Whittaker looks in line for the title next, while Paulo Costa, Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier seem to have a little more work to do.
Till is ranked #7 in the middleweight table ahead of the bout, and whilst fans scream for a title shot for the Liverpudlian next, in reality, it isn't quite deserved no matter how convincingly he may win. In regards to star power, of course, he is the man, but after losing to Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision not long after back-to-back defeats at welterweight, Till may need one more victory.
So, it goes without saying that this is simply a must-win bout for the Englishman if he wants to touch Israel Adesanya and become the second Brit to ever win UFC gold. At the same time, he has one of his toughest tests once more with Brunson, as the American brings more experience, wrestling pedigree, better form and even more knockouts to the table.
Brunson has won three of his last four with convincing decision wins, while he also managed to TKO the rising star, Edmen Shahbazyan, which has since turned the All-American into a serious contender in this weight class.
In reality, this really is a 50/50 given recent history, styles, competitiveness, and importance in this for either fighter. We are heading for a Till victory, however, as we believe his excellent Mauy Thai game and fantastic fight IQ and distance control may just be enough to keep Brunson at bay and set up a TKO/KO at some point in the fight.