UFC 282 goes down this weekend live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and marks the UFC’s final PPV of the year. Despite huge changes at the top of the card, there’s one man who’s used to being in the limelight that, luckily for him, will be going under the radar. Darren Till‘s original positioning on the prelims had to be changed, edging him slightly more into the media eye.
Six of Till’s last seven fights have been main events, with the only one not being the main event having its own difficulties. He only made it to New York with days to spare ahead of his clash with Kelvin Gastelum back in 2019.
As of late, The Gorilla has gone 1-4, including a shot at the welterweight title. Worrying for Till, he has suffered three finish losses on this unwanted run. He returns at UFC 282, where, finally, the headlines won’t be about him as there are far more pressing talking points surrounding the card than the return of the Liverpudlian.
He clashes with the in-form, Dricus du Plessis. The South African is the former KSW champion and has only suffered a single defeat since 2014. He’s enjoying a three-fight UFC winning run, including two knockouts. He put on a phenomenal fight against Brad Tavares last time out, coming away with the unanimous decision victory.
Spotlight on Others
After the injury to Jiri Prochazka and consequently the main event change, there will be plenty of questions asked about the two men in the main event, Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. Likewise, fellow Liverpudlian, Paddy Pimblett returns and makes his US debut (in front of fans) in the co-main event. With Paddy the Baddy, the eyes will always be on him. He speaks great in front of the mic and always is entertaining when speaking to the media. A lot of the limelight will be on Pimblett ahead of his fourth UFC bout and toughest to date.
A featherweight banger between two undefeated stars Bryce Mitchell and Ilia Topuria. Neither featherweight has ever tasted defeat and between them boast a 27-0 record. The two top 15 ranked featherweights clash to see who can become the next man to make their way into the title conversation.
The youngest-ever UFC fighter, 18-year-old Raul Rosas Jr makes his debut having gained a contract on the Contender Series and understandably, there will be plenty of eyes on the young man ahead of his debut.
With all of these fighters on the card, as well as a whole host of other recognisable names, Darren Till can go under the radar and look to just concentrate on the fight itself.
Cancellations, Injuries and Lacklustre Performances
Since his loss to Robert Whittaker in 2020, Till has had a total of five cancelled bouts, of which three have been as a result of injuries for the Englishman. Further injury scares surrounded this one as he appeared to suffer a worrying eye injury in recent weeks, however, it doesn’t appear that it will affect him ahead of UFC 282.
Nasty looking eye injury for Darren Till.😬 pic.twitter.com/WK5FfF42qW
— The MMA Media (@The_MMA_Media) October 30, 2022
Against Derek Brunson last time out, he was badly dominated. Three takedowns, 7:23 control time and an inability to get back to his feet saw Till losing via submission in the third round. An undisclosed injury, a torn ACL has led to Till taking a prolonged period of time out of action. He was scheduled to compete in July against Jack Hermanson, however, had to withdraw from the bout due to yet another injury.
After over a year out of action, Till will finally return against du Plessis in a three-round. He specifically asked not to compete in any more main events. He wants to focus on getting his form back before competing in five-round fights again. It’s certainly sensible from Till and his team, a potentially new team ahead of UFC 282. He’s been training in Thailand and Sweden, not at home with Team Kaobon (which no longer exists in its original form).
He has a bright future ahead of him, he’s skilled and has the experience of headlining PPV events. After a rough few years, Till has to focus his own career and what’s best for him.
Will we see the return of The Gorilla, or will he fall to 1-5 and risk being cut from the UFC? Only time will tell but all questions will be answered at UFC 282.