It was a daring move from the UFC to put potential UK star Darren Till up against a tough opponent like Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in Liverpool. Other promotions (looking at you, Bellator) probably would have given him a can to crush. Instead, the UFC threw Till into the deep end, putting him across from the #1 contender in the welterweight division and a man known for making stellar talents like Rory MacDonald look silly.
The gamble paid off, if only with a bit of hometown favoritism in the mix. The judges in Liverpool saw fit to award Till the win with 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47 scores. While many casual observers thought Thompson was probably the more frequent and accurate striker, we imagine Till’s aggression and a rowdy local crowd helped sway the judges his way.
Much of the fight had Thompson and Till attempting to feint their way into opportunities to counter, with Till pushing forward but being careful not to over-commit.
Ready to erupt in Echo Arena. #UFCLiverpool pic.twitter.com/Y57K7VSLgf— UFC (@ufc) May 27, 2018
The best exchange for Till came in the fifth round where he pressured Thompson into the cage and then dropped him with a big overhand left.
HEATING UP IN THE FIFTH! #UFCLiverpool pic.twitter.com/ysPuuarEUz— UFC (@ufc) May 27, 2018
What!? Darren Till captures a unanimous decision, igniting the Liverpool crowd though puzzling everyone else. No doubt, this fifth-round knockdown played a huge role in those scorecards. What happens now? #UFCLiverpool pic.twitter.com/BAO61XKpIn— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) May 27, 2018
After being awarded the win, Till unleashed a heavily censored tirade that came across as mostly static to those watching the event on TV.
”All you doubters, who the f**k is doubting me now?” he screamed. “No one! No one!”
DON'T DOUBT DARREN TILL! #UFCLiverpool pic.twitter.com/aCoiPnXmlO— UFC (@ufc) May 27, 2018
For a full round by round breakdown of the Till vs. Thompson fight, click here. The play-by-play for the rest of UFC Liverpool can be found here.