Image Credit [TalkSport]
The UFC saw a rare visit to London this Saturday with Darren Till facing Jorge Masvidal at the O2 Arena.
Despite being a Fight Night event instead of a full blown UFC event, there were still 16,000 fans in attendance. Unfortunately, Till and the UK fans did not get the fairytale ending that they wanted, with the Liverpudlian being knockout by the veteran Masvidal.
Till looked dangerous early in the fight with a straight right knocking his opponent to the canvas, but he was unable to finish him off.
In the second round Masvidal replied in kind with a huge left hook connecting with the jaw of Till. He appeared unconscious before hitting the mat, whereupon the referee called the fight and covered the prone fighter before further damage was inflicted. The crowd were stunned into silence with the shot seemingly coming out of nowhere.
Till has been a rising star in the UFC, but suffered his first loss last year against then Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley. This was supposed to be a relatively easy fight against a veteran fighter with a spotty record to get Till back on the right track, but there is never a sure fight in the UFC. One strike can change the whole complexion of a bout.
Whilst there are already rumours that Till will look to move back up to Middleweight, where he fought at in his early career, this loss will only intensify the speculation. Alongside this latest defeat, Till has failed to make weight for two previous bouts, although he was still victorious in both. The move would mean a less intensive weight cut, but it would also reduce the reach and size advantage that he currently has.
The Englishman is still very young at the age of 26, so one would expect to see much more from him despite this minor set back.
However, there was plenty of UK talent on display. Liam Edwards won via split decision against Gunnar Nelson. Nathaniel Wood won a third successive fight by submission and Molly McCann become the first English female fighter to win in the UFC.
Another notable name on the preliminary card was that of Joseph Duffy, who lost via unanimous decision to Marc Diakiese. Duffy has an impressive 38 second victory over Conor McGregor via an arm-triangle choke, although this was nearly a decade ago.
There was also the announcement that former Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Bisping has a long career, kick started by winning the Ultimate Fighter Season 3 and ending with a 30-9 record, including more than a year as Middleweight Champion.
Till is seen by many as someone that can fill the hole left by Bisping in the UK, but he has a very long way to go. Hopefully events like this will help show Dana White and co. that the UK has a thriving MMA scene and we will be able to see more of them compete on the main shows and even challenge for gold.