Former welterweight title challenger Darren Till made his 185-pound UFC debut on Saturday in the UFC 244 co-main event against former middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. Till jumped right into the deep of the new weight class taking on the No. 4 ranked Gastelum.
Till entered the fight as the No. 10 ranked welterweight, but his place in the middleweight division was unknown. He showed where he fits in the weight class by defeating Gastelum by split decision.
Till used his footwork and movement to keep Gastelum on the outside where he could utilize his kicks. Each time Gastelum closed the distance, Till would clinch and nullify Gestelum's power punching.
In the second frame, Gastelum continued to have issues with Till's constant circling. Till started putting together combinations while Gastelum responded with leg kicks.
A good portion of the fight took back in the clinch position through the first two rounds. In the third, Gastelum would score two takedowns but was unable to keep Till grounded. The fight went to the judges and the scorecards were all over the place. One judge scored the fight 30-27 for Gastelum. The other two judges saw it Till's way with 29-28 and 30-27 scores.
"I just want to say first, for this fight I was coming back from a really bad place. Before my fight with (Tyron) Woodley, I felt I was invincible. And then to come off two straight losses and I moved up, and in my opinion, I fought the bulldozer of the middleweight division," said Till following the win.
"It was a close fight. It could have gone either way, but I proved a lot of (expletive) doubters wrong, and I want you to message me tonight and say something about it," added the Englishman.
With the win, Till will likely jump into the top five rankings in the middleweight division. He felt good in the
"I felt like Kelvin was a little bit stronger. I think these guys will have a little bit more strength over me, so it's something to work on," he said. "I'm 26 and co-main eventing as MSG. I'm just happy to be here right now. I just want to build myself upward."