After a 3-year stint with the UFC, Brunson has agreed to a new five-fight deal with the promotion. His bout with Till, a former Ultimate Fighter winner, will be his first since that last fight.
UFC Fight Night 109 was held in London, England, at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, which was the first time ever that the UFC had ever ventured into that area. The main event featured a pair of bantamweight fighters who were both looking to get their first UFC victory.
In the UFC’s middleweight class, Darren Till has become one of the most popular competitors. Now he has the opportunity to move from a witty fan favorite to a genuine championship challenger.
On Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas, Till will face Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Fight Night. The card was intended to be in Till’s home England, but owing to COVID-19 logistical difficulties, it was relocated to the United States.
It’s a crucial matchup at the top of the 185-pound division, where Brunson is ranked No. 7 and Till is ranked No. 8. The winner will join Jared Cannonier as a strong contender in the category, which will see champion Israel Adesanya defend his title against former champion Robert Whittaker next.
Derek Brunson enters Saturday’s battle against Darren Till on a four-bout winning streak, as both UFC middleweights want to place themselves in contention for the championship.
Brunson vs. Till, UFC Fight Night, Saturday, Sept. 4, UFC Apex, Las Vegas • Main event on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET • Preliminaries on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET
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Brunson (22-7) is on the verge of having one of his finest seasons. The North Carolina native, who competes out of Sanford MMA in Florida, has won four consecutive bouts, most recently defeating Kevin Holland by unanimous decision in March. Brunson, 37, has won six of his last eight fights and has faced the best in the division over the last nine years, including Adesanya, Whittaker, Anderson Silva, and others.
Till has lost three of his last four bouts. In his most recent fight, in July 2020, the Liverpool native was defeated by Whittaker by a razor-thin unanimous decision. He’s also coming off a collarbone break. Till, 28, made his UFC middleweight debut in November 2019 against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244. “The Gorilla” was a former welterweight championship contender who lost to Tyron Woodley.
Top heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall faces late-notice substitute Serghei Spivak in the co-main event. Aspinall (10-2) is 3-0 in the UFC and most recently defeated Andrei Arlovski by submission in February. Spivak (13-2) has won three consecutive fights, most recently defeating Aleksei Oleinik by unanimous decision in June.
Also on the program are English lightweight contender Paddy Pimblett vs. Luigi Vendramini, welterweights Alex Morono and David Zawada vs. Modestas Bukauskas, and knockout artist Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Modestas Bukauskas.
Follow Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, and Jeff Wagenheim as they review each bout, or tune in to ESPN+ to watch the action live.
Fight is still going on:
Khalil Rountree Jr. (10-5, 1 NC; 5-5, 1 NC UFC) defeated Modestas Bukauskas (11-5; 1-3 UFC) via TKO in the second round (leg kick)
#UFCvegas36 OMG, the side kick to the knee was nasty.
September 4, 2021 — Thiago Moisés (@ThiagoMoisesMMA)
Paddy Pimblett (17-3, 1-0 UFC) defeated Luigi Vendramini (9-3, 1-3 UFC) by TKO (punches) in the first round | On ESPN+, you may watch this battle.
Before his UFC debut on Saturday, Pimblett told everyone who would listen that he planned to steal the show. That’s precisely what he did.
At the 4:35 mark of their lightweight fight, the Liverpool native knocked out Vendramini with a spectacular knockout. After surviving an early knockdown by Vendramini, courtesy of a left hook to the chin, Pimblett was able to complete the fight. Pimblett looked to be in severe danger after being knocked down, but he eventually fought his way out of bottom position and was able to get back on his feet.
Pimblett’s kicks were impressive at first, but it was his hands that brought the exhibition to a conclusion. He grabbed Vendramini with a flurry to the head, then pursued him across the Octagon, firing additional shots along the fence until he was knocked out cold. It’s the tenth time in Pimblett’s career that he’s won in the opening round.
Well! Damn! I’m certainly going to mention @PaddyTheBaddy.
September 4, 2021 — Paul Felder (@felderpaul)
To Vendramini’s 25, Pimblett landed 47 overall strikes, with 58 percent of his major blows connecting. Pimblett, a previous Cage Warriors champion, has now won three in a row.
Molly McCann (11-4, 4-3 UFC) wins a majority decision against Ji Yeon Kim (9-4-2, 3-4 UFC) in the women’s flyweight division | On ESPN+, you may watch this battle.
McCann had a message for her opponent as the battle entered its last 30 seconds. There were no words in the message. It was communicated with two hands pointing to the cage’s central mat. The gesture indicated, “Fight me right here.” That’s exactly what the two ladies did until the horn went off.
It wasn’t the first time McCann had decided where the brawl would take place during the bout. Right out of the gate, the 31-year-old from England sprinted across the cage, erasing Kim’s 10-inch reach advantage. The South Korean, on the other hand, held her ground, evading harm with quick footwork and landing counter-punches.
McCann, on the other hand, kept coming.
It was a tight battle throughout, and one that was exciting to watch, with each fighter having her moments. In the end, all three judges scored McCann 29-28 in her favor, ending a two-fight losing skid with her first victory since 2019.
Kim, who is also 31, was defeated for the second time in a row. She’s lost three of her past four games.
Jack Shore, left, dominated Liudvik Sholinian in a unanimous decision win, improving his professional record to 15-0. Zuffa LLC/Jeff Bottari
Jack Shore (15-0, 4-0 UFC) wins a majority decision against Liudvik Sholinian (9-3-1, 0-1 UFC) in the men’s bantamweight division | On ESPN+, you may watch this battle.
Shore’s status as a “prospect” would still be true. However, he does not fight like if he is.
In an extremely efficient performance, Shore defeated Sholinian by unanimous decision (30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards). Early on, Shore secured takedowns, demonstrating his superior wrestling skills. He also boxed Sholinian on the feet and threw in some powerful calf kicks to keep him off balance. Shore played a really well-balanced game.
Shore got Sholinian down in the opening round and attempted an arm-triangle choke. Shore was unable to complete the task, but he was able to mount. He didn’t utilize his grappling as much in the second and third rounds, despite how excellent it was. Instead, Shore emphasized his improved standup abilities, even shaking Sholinian with a combination in the third round.
That was a great scrap! Both of these guys are great! Shore #UFCVegas36 is a deserving winner.
September 4, 2021 — GIGA CHIKADZE (@giga chikadze)
Following that, Shore said that he wants to face a top-15 opponent next.
In his postfight interview, Shore stated, “I feel like I’m ready.” “I believe I’ve shown that I’m capable. For me, there is just one path up. I’m getting better all the time.”
Shore, who is 26 years old, is currently 4-0 in the UFC. After five finishes in a row, this was his second consecutive decision. Shore, a native of Wales, has to be one of the best up-and-comers in the bantamweight category. Sholinian, a 31-year-old Ukrainian, saw his four-fight winning run come to an end.
Julian Erosa (26-10, 3-6 UFC) defeated Charles Jourdain (11-4-1, 2-3-1 UFC) via third-round submission (D’arce choke) in men’s catchweight (150 pounds) | On ESPN+, you may watch this battle.
On the back end of a highly exciting 150-pound catchweight bout, Erosa of Yakima, Washington, got a smooth submission over Jourdain.
The time of the finish was 2:56 in the third round. As Jourdain attempted to recover from a takedown, Erosa pounced on a D’arce choke. The effort took Jourdain totally off guard, and he was quickly tapped. It’s the first time Jourdain, from Quebec, has completed a project.
For a fight that was extremely back-and-forth on the feet, it was a decisive conclusion. Erosa, who moved to 4-4 in the UFC, worked on Jourdain’s body well. In the second round, Jourdain countered with lead left hands, including one that resulted in a knockdown.
Jourdain is now 0-1 for the season. After beginning 0-3 in the UFC, Erosa is currently 4-1 in his past five fights after signing with Dana White’s Contender Series.
Marc-André Barriault, right, won a unanimous decision against Dalcha Lungiambula to kick off Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event. Zuffa LLC/Jeff Bottari
Marc-André Barriault (13-4, 1 NC; 2-3, 1 NC UFC) wins a majority decision against Dalcha Lungiambula (11-3; 2-2 UFC) at middleweight | On ESPN+, you may watch this battle.
Barriault did not take a step backward for 15 minutes. That was remarkable in and of itself, since he was in the Octagon with a strong guy who threw everything with full force. But Barriault kept walking down Lungiambula the whole time, and by the last minute of the battle, he had a fatigued Lungiambula retreating.
That was incredible. Barriault didn’t care whether he won or lost; he just wanted to win. Great battle and awe-inspiring performance! #UFCVegas36
September 4, 2021 — Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc)
Barriault did not achieve the finish he wanted until the last horn, but he placed an exclamation mark on the cards of all three judges, who scored it 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28, respectively. After being winless in his previous four bouts, the 31-year-old from Quebec now has two victories in a succession.
Lungiambula, a 34-year-old Congolese native, is now living in South Africa but has been training in Las Vegas. He unleashed power shots the whole time, but nothing stopped Barriault from moving forward. Lungiambula scored two takedowns in the first round, but he faded as the fight progressed, losing for the second time in three bouts after winning his UFC debut in 2019.
More to come:
Derek Brunson (22-7, 13-5 UFC, +150) vs. Darren Till (Middleweight) (18-3-1, 6-3-1 UFC, -175) Tom Aspinall (10-2, 3-0 UFC, -240) vs. Serghei Spivac (13-2, 4-2 UFC, +200) at heavyweight Alex Morono (19-7 1 NC, 8-4 1 NC UFC, -140) vs. David Zawada (17-6, 1-3 UFC, +120) at welterweight.
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