Derek Brunson, the sixth-ranked Middleweight in UFC, is facing ninth-ranked Darren Till. Brunson held the number nine spot before his recent winning streak, and Darren TIll broke the top ten even though he’s 1-1 in the middleweight division after leaving the welterweight division after back-to-back losses.
Aspiring middleweight standouts looking to make a case for title contention
— UFC (@ufc) September 1, 2021
This fight isn’t the classic striker vs grappler that it appears, simply because Brunson has developed a hybrid game which I call fence-fighting. The majority of his damage and his minutes of control comes from pinning the opponent against the cage and catching them with shots in the transition from the floor to the feet.
Get you someone that looks at you the way Darren Till looks at the Schmo pic.twitter.com/iYYXOX258g
— StonedRamsay🚂 (@WarFiggy) August 31, 2021
Till is still confident, and flexing his fame with The Schmo. Get ready for some numbers, we’re about to get detailed on the stats and odds.
Tale of the Tape: A Five-Round Middleweight Bout
|Fighter||Derek Brunson||Darren Till|
|Reach/Stance||77’’ Southpaw||74” Southpaw|
|Submissions/TKO||3 submissions, 12TKO||2 submissions, 10 TKO|
|Odds Last FIght||+155||+150|
Darren Till is a strong favorite for a fighter coming off three losses. The prop bets tell the tale of what the oddsmakers are suspecting. Till wins by KO is +150, and Till wins by decision ranges from +250-+400 depending on where you’re betting.
Brunson wins by TKO is +500 and Brunson wins by decision is +300 to +400. Brunson wins in round 3 or 4 is +1100. They think Till is going to knock Brunson out after he gasses out, plain and simple.
Age is a factor, with Brunson being nine years Till’s senior. I personally believe reach is a big factor. Brunson has a three inch reach advantage, which matters more when you’re striking into grappling.
The Over/Under 2 ½ rounds is -275/+200, currently only Ceasar’s Sportsbook is running the 2 ½ but odds may still be announced before Saturday.
Till was a +150 underdog against Whittaker in his last bout fourteen months ago. In my opinion, he’s risen the ranks quickly and should have been a bigger underdog. Brunson was a +155 underdog against Kevin Holland, a fight where he won every round. I think Brunson is consistently improperly ranked because of his performances against the absolute best middleweights, and his unfortunate loss to Souza, which wasn’t lucky, but wasn’t an outcome we’d expect if the fight were repeated.
Speaking of recent odds, let’s look at their last five years of fights.
Road to the Ring
First we should note that Brunson is on a four fight middleweight streak after losing to Israel Adesanya and Souza. Till is 1-3 of his last four, losing to top ranked welterweights as well as Whittaker. Whittaker, being the common opponent is the fight that many are basing their bets off of. Till was still a young fighter in 2016, comparing the Whittaker performance is less useful than many are making it out to be. Brunson has faced an all-star middleweight line up.
— MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) August 31, 2021
Till fought Whittaker in July of last year, while Brunson fought him in 2016. Five years ago, Brunson was less accurate, more rushed, and had time and again questionable conditioning. Till was a +150 against Whittaker just last year, Bruson was a favorite against Whittaker at -120 in their 2016 bout. Brunson has since been the perpetual underdog, coming in favorite only against Elias Theodorou in his last seven match ups.
Now that we’re getting into style, let’s go deeper on strike and takedown stats.
Paths to Victory
Till’s nickname is the Gorilla, but he’s rather conervative. 2.27 average significant strikes landed a minute, and 2.99 average significant strikes absorbed a minute. He gets hit more often than he hits. It’s clear Till relies on accuracy and power to win fights, though he only has two knockouts in the UFC. It’s not clear to me that he is capable of knocking out elite level opponents, outside of the chinny Donal Cerrone.Till’s takedown defense is at 82%, a number that may seem strong to laymen but it means Brunson will land one of his first five attempts. Brunson has shot five takedown attempts in the first minute of some matches.
👀 @DerekBrunson ready to perform this Saturday and jump the line to the top 🏆
— UFC (@ufc) September 1, 2021
Brunson earns 3.46 average significant strikes landed a minute and has 2.72 average significant strikes absorbed per minute. He averages 3.11 takedowns a fight, though most of his damage is done against the fence.
Till is great at turning and standing to escape the takedown, but that’s not going to help him defend in the midst of that.
A last note, I urge you to go back and watch Till’s closed guard against striking grapplers. Absolutely no offense, he attempts to overhook and wait, getting repeatedly pummeled, against Woodley and others.
As tempted as I am to bet on Brunson in the first round, a prop bet offering +1100, I think I’ll stay conservative. Brunson has the tools and the experience at Middleweight. I wish they’d let Till gatekeep for just a second and get accustomed to the weight class. Good for Brunson however, because Till is popular.
Check the backlog on these picks, I’ve called the last eight combat sports main events! I’m not saying i’m Nostradomas, but when you’re on a roll – you’re on a roll!