Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone with UFC Vegas 36 blowing the roof off UFC APEX last Sat. night (Sept. 4, 2021) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds including Sergey Spivak, who was knocked out by Tom Aspinall in the very first round (highlights).
And Luigi Vendramini, who was posterized by Paddy Pimblett after getting stopped via strikes in the opening frame (see it again here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into his headlining bout against No. 5-ranked Derek Brunson, Till was hoping to get back on the winning track after losing to former champion Robert Whittaker in his previous bout. Instead, “The Gorilla” was submitted and sent home with his second straight loss.
After starting off his career at 17-0-1, Till is just 1-4 in his last five fights, leaving him in no-man’s land. It’s hard to say where it’s gone wrong for Till, who has made it to the big dance once before. But after losing to then-champion Tyron Woodley in 2018, it’s been nothing but a downhill trajectory for him.
Can he bounce back? Probably, but it will be a long road back to the top. Till can continue fighting at middleweight, or he can return to welterweight for one last hurrah, but it won’t be against Kamaru Usman.
For my money, I wouldn’t mind seeing Till go back down to 170 pounds, where he can secure action fights against UFC veterans like Matt Brown. While he isn’t necessarily undersized at 185 pounds, Till had better success at welterweight — to the point where he earned a shot at the title.
Till just needs to get his weight-cutting woes under control.
“It’s another loss on his record and it’s further halting his progression to becoming champion of the world,” former champion and current UFC analyst Michael Bisping told BT Sport. “But what I will say is this in terms of encouragement: He’s only 28 years old. I had many ups and downs throughout my career and maybe some tweaks. I’m not suggesting he leaves Team Kaobon, but maybe go somewhere where they have a heavier influence on wrestling, certainly on jiu-jitsu as well.”
Till also lost to Woodley by way of submission.
“I think perhaps a move back down to welterweight (is what he needs),” Bisping continued. “When you look at Derek Brunson compared to him, Derek Brunson is a much bigger guy. I’m not talking height-wise. Height-wise, they’re very similar. But when you look at the frame – and with the frame and with that muscle, comes a lot of strength – certainly when you’re fighting guys like Derek Brunson when their whole M.O. is to take you down. Of course, technique comes into play. But a lot of what comes into play is strength. Once you get into these clinch positions … it comes down to power, and Derek kind of outmuscled him in those situations, as well.”
Perhaps a rematch against Nicolas Dalby would be a good fit if Till does, in fact, return to welterweight. The two fought to a draw back in 2015 so they do have some unfinished business. Dalby is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Tim Means so he is also in search of a big win, as well.
Till is currently at a crossroads in his career, so all we can do for now is see just what “The Gorilla” plans to do moving forward.