Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business today (Sun., May 27, 2018) to stage UFC Fight Night 130 from inside Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, which will air on FOX Sports 1. The event will feature a Welterweight showdown that will see two-time title challenger, Stephen Thompson, face off against Darren Till, while Neil Magny takes on Craig White in the co-headlining act.
UFC’s welterweight division has seen a resurgence over the last year with plenty of top contenders rapidly rising on a quest to challenge current division kingpin, Tyron Woodley. While there are several established veterans such as Rafael dos Anjos, Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson occupying the top spots, plenty of young blood is looking to take over. Chief among them is Darren Till, the undefeated (16-0-1, 4-0-1 UFC) Brit who is fresh off and impressive knockout win over Donald Cerrone. His next bout will undoubtedly be the toughest one to date, as Thompson is a former two-time title challenger with a style many have been unable to figure out. For “Wonderboy,” this fight is a chance to force UFC into awarding him a third championship showdown, possibly against the same man. Till didn’t do himself any favors this week, however, missing weight, and had to show up earlier this morning not weighing more that 188 pounds for the to be approved. The good news? Till hit his mark and the main event is still on!
Original Card vs Actual Card:
The main event was originally set to feature a showdown between Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny before “Gunni” was forced out of the event with an injury. Despite Jorge Masvidal’s attempt to slide into the slot, the promotion ultimately gave Craig White the call up instead.
Aside from Nelson getting bit by the injury bug, Davey Grant was forced out of his fight against Manny Bermudez three days prior to fight night because of a severe battle with staph infection, forcing him out of the event, as well.
White got the call up to face Neil Magny on short notice after Nelson was forced out. He’ll be doing so on a four-fight win streak. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. will step into the Octagon for the first time, too, putting his seven-fight win streak on the line against Brad Scott. Molly McCann and Gillian Robertson will also be making their official Octagon debuts, and they’ll do it against each other. To get a bit more of a detailed breakdown of all the UFC rookies, click here.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
The “Prelims” undercard portion of the event isn’t too stacked, but it will be headlined by a Middleweight showdown between Daniel Kelly and Tom Breese. Furthermore, Elias Theodorou — MMA’s first-ever ring boy — will make his long-awaited return to the cage as he takes on Trevor Smith in the first fight of the night and sole bout on UFC Fight Pass.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
After starting his career undefeated (7-0), Darren Stewart’s UFC career has been a bust. In his Octagon debut, he scored a first round win over Francimar Barroso, but it was later ruled a “No Contest” after an inadvertent head butt. Things went downhill from there, as he dropped his last three inside the Octagon. If he loses his fourth in a row, it could be the end of his UFC career.
Interest Level: 6/10
UFC’s summer pay-per-view (PPV) schedule is going to add to the heat with one stacked event after the next, with a lot of the top names involved, so you know there isn’t a lot of hype and big-name fighters to spread around to the “Fight Night”-branded events. While today’s main event is intriguing -- now more-so because of this -- the rest of the main card lineup leaves plenty to be desired.
Full Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 130 Main Event (FS1):
170 lbs.: Stephen Thompson vs. Darren Till
UFC Fight Night 130 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (1 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Neil Magny vs. Craig White
145 lbs.: Arnold Allen vs. Mads Burnell
170 lbs.: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Jason Knight
135 lbs.: Manny Bermudez vs. Davey Grant— CANCELED (FUll Story Here)
170 lbs.: Claudio Henrique da Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
185 lbs.: Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart
UFC Fight Night 130 Prelims on FOX Sports 1 (11 a.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Tom Breese vs. Daniel Kelly
135 lbs.: Lina Lansberg vs. Gina Mazany
170 lbs.: Brad Scott vs. Carlo Pedersoli Jr.
125 lbs.: Molly McCann vs. Gillian Robertson
UFC Fight Night 130 Prelims on Fight Pass (10:30 a.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Trevor Smith vs. Elias Theodorou
For more upcoming UFC events click here.