Tyron Woodley, back in action from a sizeable lay-off, returns to the Octagon at UFC 228 this weekend in his third title defence. The man standing in his way is top ranked contender Darren Till, who makes his first appearance in a UFC title match-up. This bout is scheduled as the main event of the fight card, which takes place in sunny Las Vegas.
And to get into the spirit of the event, we have prepared a prediction based on the betting odds for how the fight could end. Not such a popular opinion, we’re backing Darren Till to spoil the party and end Tyron Woodley’s stagnant rein as the welterweight king. Over the preview…
UFC 228 Tale of the Tape
|Tyron Woodley||vs.||Darren Till|
Woodley vs. Till Betting Odds
To win outright
For a guy who fights a smart fight and has brushed off three title defences in thirteen months, Woodley isn’t receiving the full kudos some may believe he deserves from the bookmakers. The odds on him to retain the belt for a fourth time are close at evens. Meanwhile, Darren Till who snatches a shot at the champ after only six UFC matches is awarded the same odds, which seems generous given his brief exposure to main events and title fights.
Woodley, who labelled his upcoming encounter in the Octagon as his “super fight”, is known to orchestrate a unique training camp for every opponent in order to adjust to the challenge ahead. In preparing for Till, he faces a forward-thinking fighter with great range and accuracy, which he spent time mastering for his double duel with Wonderboy Thompson. In that respect, we’d expect odds for him to win to be higher… but expect them to shorten closer to fight night.
Till has never tasted defeat in the UFC. He doesn’t know what it feels like to quit on a stool, sink to the canvas, or watch the ref wave the fight to closure. Even odds for him to win is ambitious but plausible, given his recent run of destruction in the 170 lbs division.
|To win outright||Woodley||Till|
Tyron Woodley to win via KO/TKO or disqualification
As a fighter known best for wrestling and grappling, “The Chosen One” isn’t regarded highly as ` KO artist. Not to say he can’t knock a guy out stone cold when he needs to, in the case of Robbie Lawler who he took the strap from, Woodley unleashes insane power when called upon. Shame he never expressed such aggression in his last three fights, which all went to the wire. That trilogy did little for his reputation as an electric athlete with a killer instinct.
Still, backing him to knock out Till can offer as much as 4/1, which isn’t an offer to be sniffed at. Woodley often fights with his back against the cage, which could work in his favour should the offensive Till let his guard slip when piling on pressure for a takedown.
Tyron Woodley to win by decision
To possess a 95% takedown defence ratio and a 65% strike defence ratio suggest you know a thing or two about survival in the Octagon. Woodley is backed at 3/1 to see out this fight on points and we feel having those stats behind him are tempting to run with this bet. The Champion has gone the full distance in seven of his last 10 fights in the UFC, half of which have lasted 25-minutes.
We know an ideal smart fight for him will be taking a back step and seeing what Darren Till comes in with, and then shrugging off the attacks to conserve energy levels. For the fans’ sake let’s hope it doesn’t pan out that way, but we’ve seen it before so don’t be surprised for him to rerun this strategy.
|Method of victory||Woodley KO/TKO or disqualification||Woodley decision|
Darren Till to win by KO/TKO or disqualification
The say that “The Gorilla” is a youthful reincarnation of Stephen Thompson but with some heavy-duty upgrades: where Thompson pounces to strike for points, Till does so for power. And when “Wonderboy” circles the ring he fights from the back foot, whilst Till advances towards his opponent.
To elaborate on his striking, Till has attempted 216 punches in the Octagon to date, of which he landed a 46% success rate. The most memorable perhaps was his KO over Donald Cerrone and before then, Wendell Oliveira. Between those three victories Till won his fights on points so there’s a strong argument that although his striking may be deadly, it’s not his only weapon. Backing a TKO/KO at 2/1 is a reasonable but doubtful punt.
Darren Till to win by decision
A points win is a familiar route to success for the lad from Liverpool, but even so the bookmakers have stretched these odds to 3/1. This market is tempting, however we never truly know how the fight will play out until the first 30 seconds of round 1. If Woodley remains stubborn in refusing to meet Till in the centre of the Octagon then why not back the challenger all the way to pick off his man round by round?
|Method of victory||Till KO/TKO or disqualification||Till decision|
Our Prediction – Till To Win Outright
If the bookmakers can’t stick their necks on the line and call it then we will. Here are a handful of reasons why we’re backing the Brit to bring home the silverware.
Till is riding the wave of victory right now in the 170 lb division, and he’s having success in defeating guys who can mix it up with the best of them. Stephen Thompson and Donald Cerrone both took ample punishment from the Liverpudlian in two of his three wins throughout 2017. As he brings British MMA into a new era, Woodley is at risk of severe ring-rust and at 36, possibly past his prime.
The sheer size difference Till has must play a part in both the physical and psychological battle of this UFC 228 main event. Was the fight already won in the weigh-ins, when Till towered over the champ? The Gorilla’s three-inch heigh advantage going into this bout surely puts him at an advantage if he fights at range and controls the pace of the fight.