Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight fighters Nicolas Dalby and Darren Till scrapped last night (Oct. 24, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 76 inside 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
Dalby was fairly well-known as a strong European prospect prior to getting picked up, but his debut was not particularly impressive. With that in mind, his performance against Till was very much make-or-break, as it really determined where the Dane's ceiling lies.
On the other hand, Till impressed in his last performance with a brutal knockout but is still rather unproven. If he secured a second finish opposite Dalby, Till would definitely be a fighter to watch.
The two fighters engaged quickly, colliding briefly in the clinch. As both fighters began to find their range, Till began landing heavily with his straight left hand and power body kick.
While Dalby kept his output decently high, he was landing with enough of an impact to deter Till. Conversely, Till was utilizing precise and powerful shots to interrupt his opponent's momentum
And if all that weren't enough, Till dropped his opponent at the very end of the first round with a slick uppercut counter.
Till looked supremely confident to start the second round. The Englishman did a very nice job controlling the distance, making Dalby either miss or pay whenever he attempted to get close enough to punch.
Running out of answers on the feet, Dalby turned towards his wrestling in the latter half of the round. He briefly scored with a clinch trip and did control him against the fence momentarily, but it was not nearly enough to earn him the round.
Dalby needed something dramatic in the third and final round.
To his credit, Dalby started the round with a serious sense of urgency. He opened the round with a slapping head kick and nice combination, and his constant aggression seemed to fluster Till a bit. Before long, Dalby's mix of constant punches, takedowns, and high kicks had rocked the Englishman.
Taking advantage of that situation, Dalby scored with a double leg takedown and moved directly into mount. For a moment, it looked like Dalby would secure a finish from ground strikes, but Till hung tough and returned to his feet. From there, Dalby battered his opponent for the final minute of the round, and Till's face wore the abuse.
In the end, two of the three judges scored this fight a draw. Judging by the faces of both men, they agreed with the wise decision. Plus, the post-fight double interview was a pretty classic moment.
While this was an entertaining fight and strong performance by Dalby, it does show where his ceiling lies. Dalby is clearly a talented fighter, but he's simply not the best athlete around. Against fighters that do have those gifts like Till, Dalby will always struggle.
On the bright side, if he can keep putting on fights like that, he definitely has a home inside the UFC.
For his next battle, he'll likely end up battling another European welterweight. If these two men don't face off in a rematch -- which, frankly, I don't think would be necessary -- then a scrap with Cathal Pendred would make sense.
For two rounds, Darren Till looked like a destroyer of worlds. He was maintaining his range, picking his shots, and shaking off every strike his opponent threw at him. It was a remarkable showing, made even more impressive by the fact that Till is just 22 years old.
Then, he took a serious shellacking from his opponent. While getting hit dozens of times is never a good thing, the heart Till showed is nice to see, and it will likely be quite important when he eventually faces the top half of that division.
Until then, Till has plenty of time to work on his defensive wrestling and conditioning. His next opponent should be someone who can challenge those aspects of his game, such as Kenny Robertson.
Last night, Nicolas Dalby and Darren Till scrapped in a highly entertaining battle that ended in a draw. Where do these two combatants go from here?
For complete UFC Fight Night 76 "Holohan vs Smolka" results and play-by-play click HERE!