Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is headed back inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, TODAY (Sat., Sept. 4, 2021) to stage UFC Vegas 36 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a Middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Darren Till. In the co-main event, Tom Aspinall will take on Sergey Spivac in Heavyweight action.
For as much as many in the fight game expected big things from Till, he hasn’t quite delivered on those lofty expectations. Sure, he started off his UFC career winning five of his first six bouts, with the other being a draw, and having victories over long-time veterans such as Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson isn’t a bad thing to have on your resume. However, since then, “The Gorilla” hasn’t exactly been lighting it up inside the Octagon. He did score a title fight against Tyron Woodley, but wound up going to sleep after “The Chosen One” — who is loving life right about now — sunk in a fight-ending d’arce choke. In his follow up fight, Till was knocked out by Jorge Masvidal (see it). He then bounced back with a win over Kelvin Gastelum, which many felt should have gone the other way, in a Middleweight scrap. After that, Till came up short against Robert Whittaker, leaving him at 1-3 in his last four fights. Despite his slump, Till is still sitting pretty at No. 7 at 185 pounds and is still getting headlining duties.
His next challenge comes in the form of Brunson, the hard-hitting Middleweight who is seemingly on the cusp of finally breaking through to a title shot. Brunson has long been one of the most consistent fighters in the division, but oddly enough, seems to be the forgotten man when it comes to talking about the cream of the crop. Currently on a four-fight win streak, Brunson’s lone defeats in the last seven years have come against former Welterweight champion, Robert Whittaker, ex-Middleweight king Anderson Silva, Ronaldo Souza and current 185-pound lord, Israel Adesanya. Now, Brunson is eying his first shot at the a UFC title with a win over Till, and since he is ranked No. 5, there really is no reason to deny him the shot against the winner of Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2. He’s put in the work and one more win should be enough to get him to the big dance.
As for the fight itself, expect an all-out stand up war. Till loves to bang and Brunson is more than happy to oblige. The problem for Brunson is that he tends to get a bit overzealous at times, so when he connects on a good shot he will, more often than not, throw caution to the wind and go in a bit reckless. While it’s good to be aggressive, Brunson’s over-eagerness and sometimes careless attacks have gotten him in trouble in the past. That’s a dangerous game to play against Till — especially in a smaller cage — who has shown to have power in his hands. Both men need a win here for two drastically different reasons. Till is simply trying to hang on and prevent slipping further down the ladder, while Brunson is eyeing his fifth straight win for a shot at the title. There’s a lot at stake her for both men so it should be one entertaining main event.
Aside from the main event, the rest of the card is pretty lacking since there isn’t a lot of depth here. But, by now we have come to get accustomed to cards like this during the pandemic. Gone are the days where “Fight Night” events were pretty solid all the way around. Whether or not that changes in the future remains to be seen. But, when you’re putting on events every weekend, cards like this are going to become the norm. To be fair to the promotion, the event was looking solid before it lost two big fights, which we will discuss below.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Alexander Gustafsson was originally booked to co-headline the event against Paul Craig, but was forced out of the fight with an injury. As a result, Craig was removed from the event altogether. Also, Said Nurmagomedov was forced out of his fight against Jack Shore because of visa issues. Then his replacement, Zviad Lazishvili, was forced out with an injury and replaced by Liudvik Sholinian.
Volkan Oezdemir was in line to face off against Magomed Ankalaev in what promised to be a hard-hitting Light Heavyweight scrap. However, the fight was postponed and it will now take place at the upcoming 267 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Oct. 20, 2021, on “Fight Island.” Plus, Sergei Pavlovich was forced out of his Heavyweight fight against Tom Aspinall, who will now face off against Sergey Spivak.
Former Combate Americas star Marcelo Rojo was looking to attempt to pick up his first win inside the Octagon after coming up short in his promotional debut earlier this year, losing to Charles Jourdain via technical knockout in a very entertaining scrap. He was set to take on Jonathan Martinez — another Combate Americas alum -- but Martinez was forced out of the fight after suffering from complications due to his weight cut.
Aside from the previously mentioned injury to Gustaffson and Lazishvili, Nathaniel Wood suffered a broken hand and was forced out of his fight against Jonathan Martinez. Wood was eventually replaced by Rojo.
Paddy Pimblett will finally get to make his much-anticipated UFC debut when he takes on Luigi Vendramini. Pimblett is coming in with a lot of hype as the former Cage Warriors Featherweight champion and one of the biggest names from the promotion. That said, he is just 3-2 in his last five fights, so it’s not like he is coming in with a great win streak so let’s not make him out to be the next Conor McGregor just yet ... he has to prove himself inside the Octagon. The thing is, if Pimblett can score an impressive win in his debut, like McGregor did, then the UFC hype machine will undoubtedly gravitate toward him (too late). He is already talking a good game, now it’s time to put up or shut up. He will be taking on Luigi Vendramini, who is just 1-2 inside the Octagon and is coming off majority decision loss to Fares Ziam. It’s not exactly a big UFC name, but the promotion obviously wants to ease Pimblett in before throwing him in with the sharks. That said, Vendramini isn’t about to roll over and simply be a stepping stone, he intends to upset Pimblett to get his own momentum going.
UFC newcomer Liudvik Sholinian is riding a four-fight win streak going into his debut for the promotion. He will be in for a tough first fight because he will be facing Jack Shore, one of the best rising Bantamweight contenders UFC has in what is arguably the best weight class in the promotion. Undefeated at 14-0, Shore has won all three of his fights inside the eight-walled cage and has finished 12 of his first 15 opponents.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Marc-Andre Barriault is in search of his first back-to-back wins inside the Octagon in three years when he goes toe-to-toe against Dalcha Lungiambula, winner of seven of his last eight fights in what is sure to be a hard-hitting Middleweight bout. Both men are looking for consecutive wins in order to crack the Top 15.
Julian Erosa saw his three-fight win streak go up in smoke against Seung Woo Choi earlier this summer, stopping the momentum he had going on his quest to getting bigger and better fights. Now, Erosa is on the hunt to begin a new win streak, but his first test will be a tough one because he will be taking on the aforementioned Charles Jourdain. He is 2-2-1 under the UFC banner and is coming off a big knockout win over the aforementioned Rojo.
Molly McCann started her UFC career off promising, winning three of her first four bouts. Since then, however, “Meatball” has dropped two in a row and losing three straight wouldn’t be ideal for her future prospects as a UFC employee. She will face Ji Yeon Kim, who is coming off a tough loss to Alexa Grasso.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Till needs a win in the worst way here. He won’t be in danger of getting cut because he is still marketable for the European market despite his losing woes. But, losing his second straight will put him at 1-4 over his last five fights and likely drop him out of the Top 10. Till — like Sam Alvey — will seemingly always have a spot on UFC’s roster and get to collect his paychecks. But, “The Gorilla” wants more than that. He is adamant he has what it takes to one day be a UFC champion and that is still his goal. A win will help him get closer, but a loss separates him that much further from his endgame.
The card took several hits and there really isn’t much the promotion can do about that. In the co-main event, Aspinall will look to extend his impressive win streak to seven when he battles another streaking contender, Sergey Spivak, winner of three in a row. The Heavyweight division is wide open at the moment and the winner of this fight has a good chance at cracking the Top 10.
Coming off a knockout win over Donald Cerrone, Alex Morono hopes to collect his first back-to-back wins in two years when he battles David Zawada, who is just 1-3 in his last four fights in the Welterweight division.
After wowing the UFC fan base in his debut with a first round knockout win over Andreas Michailidis, Modestas Bukauskas has dropped two in a row, putting him on the chopping block. He will try to avoid his third-straight loss and a possible release from the promotion when he battles Khalil Rountree, who has also lost two straight. After knocking out Gokhan Saki in 2018, some expected Rountree to turn that corner and elevate himself into the Top 10. Instead, he has gone 1-3, so he needs a big win here to stop the bleeding.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Vegas 36 Main Event On ESPN+:
185 lbs.: Derek Brunson vs. Darren Till
UFC Vegas 36 Main Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Tom Aspinall vs. Sergei Spivac
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. David Zawada
205 lbs.: Modestas Bukauskas vs. Khalil Rountree
155 lbs.: Paddy Pimblett vs. Luigi Vendramini
UFC Vegas 36 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (2 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Molly McCann vs. Ji Yeon Kim
135 lbs.: Jack Shore vs. Liudvik Sholinian
145 lbs.: Charles Jourdain vs. Julian Erosa
185 lbs.: Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Dalcha Lungiambula
135 lbs.: Jonathan Martinez vs. Marcelo Rojo— CANCELED (details here)
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 36 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 36: “Brunson vs. Till” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.