Darren Till Beats ‘Wonderboy’ By Unanimous Decision At UFC Liverpool

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Darren Till celebrates victory at UFC RotterdamGetty

24 hours on from Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, the city was back in celebratory mood as hometown fighter Darren Till defeated Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

In a fight that went the distance Till took victory by unanimous decision.

Despite some controversy before the fight as Till missed weight by three and a half pounds, the win confirmed his arrival on the welterweight stage, taking out the division’s top-ranked title challenger.

The opening round of the welterweight main event proved how close Till and Thomspon are stylistically, with both men waiting patiently for the opportunity to land a well-timed headkick, but it was Liverpool native Till who controlled the Octagon.

In the second ‘Wonderboy’ would come close to making one of those head-kicks count, but it only served to energise the crowd further, fuelling a wide-eyed Till to intensify his pressing of the American and continue his control over the centre of the cage.

The Echo Arena was brought to its feet as the third drew to a close, both men letting go in a ferocious exchange after a short interlude after an unintentional eye poke from Thompson, but still no meaningful damage was landed and the bout would go on to the fourth round.

The fourth continued in similarly tight vain, before a frenetic fifth and final round where Thompson would be rocked, and Till briefly taken to the floor.

Wonderboy Stephen Thompson at UFC weigh-in eventGetty

The main card got underway with an early victory for UK fight fans, Darren ‘The Dentist’ Stewart stopping American middleweight Eric Spicely via TKO – Stewart flooring Spicely before unloading some vicious ground and pound.

After the bout a visibly emotional Stewart celebrated his first victory in the UFC by declaring ‘I deserve to be here’.

Claudio Silva and Canada’s Nordine Taleb took to the Octagon next in a battle of styles – Taleb clearly preferring the fight on his feet, and Silva looking for every opportunity to take it to the floor.

It was Silva whose strategy would prevail, locking in a rear naked choke in the opening round, and forcing Taleb to tap after an admirable attempt to make it to the bell.

Arguably the most exciting round of action came in the main card’s third match-up between Makwan Amirkhani of Finland, and Jason Knight of the USA.

The featherweight fight opened with a pulsating first round, a confident AmirKhani taking every opportunity to goad Knight into action, and the American duly obliging to rock Amirkhani twice.

He would make it back to his on both occasions, before registering victory by split decision as the fight went the distance.

Amirkhani said after his win:

I took quite a long break but it feels amazing to be back. I loved the fight, the crowd loved the fight and Jason Knight said that he loved it too. He said that I earned his respect tonight and he also earned mine.

The first round was fast and a lot of action and then, in rounds 2 and 3, I took over and controlled the pace. What happened is, I started having fun again.

I knew that I had to make the most of my opportunities when I returned and I did that tonight. Now, I want to fight Cub Swanson and prove that I am one of the best in this division.

That callout hasn’t been as well received as the Finnish fighter may have hoped…

Arnold Allen admitted he had to dig deep in order to dispatch Denmark’s Mads Burnell, as a second victory was notched on the main card by an English fighter.

In what was described by BT commentator, and former UFC fighter, Dan Hardy as ‘the comeback of the night’, Allen picked up victory via a front choke submission in round three, extending his winning streak in the UFC to four fights in the process.

The co-main event in Liverpool featured another English fighter in the form of welterweight, Craig White, who stepped up to fill the shoes of Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson.

The 27-year-old took on American Neil Magny, but failed to make it out the opening round after a TKO stoppage from Magny.

Magny took a patient approach before unloading with his fists as White was grounded with little under 30 seconds remaining in the first round.

Magny heaped praise on his opponent at the end of proceedings for taking the fight at short notice.

Well after a night of brutal action in Liverpool fans will be hoping the UFC will be back on UK soil before winter does indeed come…