Stephen Thompson vs Darren Till
Stephen Thompson is in a strange kind of place in his career. He’s clearly the number one contender for the welterweight title but he just can’t seem to beat Tyron Woodley and until someone else does, it’s unlikely that he’s getting another title shot anytime soon. So now he is kinda in limbo having to beat monsters just to try to keep his spot. He can handle it though. He’s 35 years old and 6’1 with a record of 14 wins, 2 losses and a draw. He has wins over former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and top contender Rory MacDonald. He is a former kickboxer also with an undefeated record of 57 wins from 57 fights.
Darren Till is young, big, aggressive and has knockout power. It’s an exciting combination and he is also a southpaw. He has an almost perfect record of 16 win and the only blemish being 1 draw. He’s a fearless guy and went to Brazil to live and teach Muay Thai for three and a half years when he was young, that takes balls. He’s 6′ tall and 25 years old and he has a big frame, cuts a lot to make 170lbs.
What’s going to happen here? Who the fuck knows but hopefully it will be a lot of fun. Two of the best strikers in the UFC but with different styles. Thompson has that point karate style with lots of movement, in and out again, fast counters and excellent use of the front leg kicks. Till has more of a traditional Thai style and he has excellent timing and a great left hand and powerful kicks. I think Till has to hit Wonderboy early and make him respect the power before Wonderboy gets loose. Another thing about Till is that he is so confident in his chin he will take a punch just because he can, not good against Thompson and not good for judges either, they just see one guy scoring. Obviously Stephen Thompson has a speed advantage and he’s very hard to hit but Till can hit him but he’s got to make these count. I do think it’s more likely that Thompson wins this but on this occasion, on this night, I’m backing Darren Till to get it done.
Update : Till had a family emergency and weighed in late at 174.5 which is 3.5lbs over the limit. Thompson agrees to fight take the fight for 30% of Till’s purse as well as the condition that Darren Till must not weigh more than 188lbs the morning of the fight. The fact is that he will still be somewhat dehydrated for the fight and this cardio may suffer. Lots of red flags but the weight thing does it for me and I’m changing my pick to Thompson by TKO.
Prediction : Thompson by KO/TKO
Result : Till by decision
Neil Magny vs Craig White
Neil Magny hasn’t really got a big name but if you are not ready for him he can make it a very bad night for you. He has lost to the top guys but does pretty good against anyone else and has wins over the likes of former champions Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks. He’s a lean 6’3 and 30 years old with a record of 20 wins and 6 losses. He has a long frame and uses it very well with snappy punches and kicks and is good in all ranges. He has had submission defence problems against top guys before.
Craig White is making his debut here and he has a hell of a job on his hands. To be fair though its a no lose situation, no one expects him to beat Magny on short notice and if he does pull it off then he’s up and running fast. He’s 27 and 6’2 with a record of 14 wins and 7 losses. He’s a big strong guy who is very capable and we’ll see how he handles the step up in competition.
I don’t see any surprises in this one, no new heroes created. Short notice debut against Magny? It’s just not gonna happen for Craig White is it? I can’t see it, Magny is just too good and very capable of shutting people down and I think he frustrates White in round on with long punches and kicks and gets the finish in round 2.
Prediction : Magny by KO/TKO
Result : Magny by TKO
Arnold Allen vs Mads Burnell
Arnold Allen is/was a rising star, a real prospect, then he got involved in a brawl just before Christmas 2016 where he assaulted 1 man and 5 women. Very stupid for a guy whos future in his chosen career may rely on the ability to travel to the USA. His last fight was a year ago, before his court conviction, and this fight is in Liverpool. Will there be any future visa issues? I wouldn’t bet against it. Allen is 24 years old and 5’8 with a record of 12 wins and 1 loss. I hope legal/visa issues don’t affect his career cos the sky is the limit.
I don’t know much about Mads Burnell but I know he’s and I know he’s skilled and I know he has heart and will push to the end. He made his debut at 155 against an overweight Prazeres and did OK for a while before getting submitted in the third and he’s coming off a win over Mike Santiago. He’s 24 years old and 5’9 with a record of 9 wins and 2 losses and he’s 1-1 in the UFC.
In this one if Allen comes in ready and fully prepared he will win easily enough. Hopefully the year away from competition won’t affect him too much. Allen has better movement, better boxing and he’s quicker than Burnell. The only thing he would maybe need to watch for is getting out muscled in the clinch and against the cage but I think everywhere else Allen has the edge. I was originally going to say submission but because of the time out I think he wins a pretty clear decision.
Prediction : Allen by decision
Result : Allen by submission
Jason Knight vs Makwan Amirkhani
Jason Knight made his UFC debut as a 23 year old against Tatsuya Kawajiri, he didn’t win but no one really expected him to. Then he went on a 4 fight streak beating Dan Hooker and Alex Caceres but then he came up against Ricardo Lamas and it was clearly too early for him but the best guys don’t really lose they either win or they learn. He’s now 25 years old and 5’11 with a record of 20 wins and 4 losses. 24 fights is a hella good amount of experience for a 25 year old.
Amirkhani burst in to the UFC by demolishing Andy Ogle in under 30 seconds, as far as debuts go it was pretty perfect. He had another couple of impressive performances until his last fight which was a split decision loss to Arnold Allen and now he has the tough Jason Knight. Makwan Amirkhani is 29 years, 5’11 with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses with 9 submission wins. He’s quick and agile and a good grappler and by no means a power puncher but he’s good enough and he knows what his strengths are.
The winner of this one is whoever performs better on the night. I can see Amirkhani starting quicker but Knight will weather it and get more into the fight. Both have similar style, both like the wrestling and scrambling. I think Makwan is quicker and slicker but Knight is stronger with better control and maybe does more damage. Like I said, this will be close and depends who performs better on the night, it might come down to who strikes better. Tricky one though because I think Knight has the edge but my instincts say Amirkhani, and I’ve learned to always go with your gut.
Prediction : Amirkhani by decision
Result : Amirkhani by decision
Davey Grant vs Manny Bermudez – CANCELLED
Davey Grant came to most peoples attention when he did well on TUF 18, reaching the final. He hasn’t fought since 2016 because of a broken arm and is raring to go. He’s 32, 5’8 with a record of 10 wins and 3 losses and he’s 1-2 in the UFC so a win would be nice Davey is good all round and sets a fast pace, he’s has a good amount of submission wins and the best thing you can say about his striking is that although he’s not really a powerful puncher, he really pours it on.
The only thing I know about Manny Bermudez is that he’s undefeated and is relentless at going for those takedowns. He’s 23, 5’6 with a record of 11 wins and 0 losses and 8 submission wins.
Davey Grant will get some success here, to begin with at least. He will be the one pushing the action and probably pushing Manny back but that same style will get his ass taken down and then it’s advantage Bermudez. Grant has to make it count hard and early but I really don’t think it will be enough here. Bermudez will dominate most of the grappling I would say, and I think he gets the submission win.
Prediction : Bermudez by submission
Eric Spicely vs Darren Stewart
Not much to say about Spicely at this point. He’s a good submission guy and he’s coming of 2 losses. He’s 31 years old, 6’1 with a record of 11 wins and 3 losses.
Darren Stewart probably did get screwed with that no contest in Brazil against Barroso but since then he has lost 3 straight and its not a good look. Needs a win badly and this one could be winnable for him if he gets the right game plan and follows it. He’s 27 years old and 6’0 with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses. He moves reasonably well and hits hard just not sure about the fight IQ.
For this one Darren Stewart would be wise to keep his distance and try to stay in striking range but he’s got a habit of clinching a lot which is maybe not the best idea. He can also panic wrestle when he gets hit. I think Stewart will start strong and maybe Spicely will have to weather the storm a bit but in Rounds 2 and 3 Spicely will be able to grapple more and I can see him getting the submission.
Prediction : Spicely by submission
Result : Stewart by TKO
Rest of the Card
Claudio Silva vs Nordine Taleb
Taleb vs Silva, Striker vs Grappler.
Couple of things though, Taleb is a better grappler than Silva is a striker and Taleb has better takedown defense than Silva has takedowns. Plus Claudio Silva hasn’t fought since 2014, all this points to a Taleb win (unless Claudio has spent the last 3 years living in the mountains with ninja monks)
Prediction : Taleb
Result : Silva
Daniel Kelly vs Tom Breese
The blueprint is written for Breese to be successful. Hit and move, use his reach, don’t get sucked into a brawl and avoid clinching too much. If he can do this, and I believe he can, then he wins a dominant decision.
Prediction : Breese
Result : Breese
Bradley Scott vs Carlo Pedersoli
Pedersoli is making his debut here. He’s young, good striker, good grappler. The things to consider though are that he’s stepping in on short notice and as I said it is his debut. Scott likes to brawl, he’ll be aggressive and Pedersoli will have to handle that as well as the nerves. Honestly though I think that Carlo Pedersoli has the skills to do this, he can counter well and get the decision.
Prediction : Pedersoli
Result : Pedersoli
Gillian Robertson vs Molly McCann
Molly McCann making her UFC debut here and I think she wins this, she’s a solid fighter with really good striking. If she can stay off her back she will get the stoppage.
Prediction : McCann
Result : Robertson
Elias Theodorou vs Trevor Smith
Elias will hit and move while Trevor is dazzled by The Spartan’s hair. Decision for Theodorou, of course.
Prediction : Theodorou by decision
Result : Theodorou
Gina Mazany vs Lina Lansberg
Once you’ve been in the ring with Cyborg everything else must seem like a party. Lansberg wins this though.
Prediction : Lansberg
Result : Lansberg
Correct Picks – 7/11