Darren Till used all five rounds to reel in his biggest fish yet.
The undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight contender used clubbing overhand lefts and clever leg kicks to outpoint Stephen Thompson in the UFC Fight Night 130 headliner on Sunday at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Scores were 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46, as Till (17-0-1, 5-0-1 UFC) cleared another significant hurdle in his development.
It felt closer than the scores indicated. Thompson (14-3-1, 9-3-1 UFC) leaned on his lateral movement, darting punches and occasional flurries. However, the South Carolina-based karateka spent most of the fight moving backwards, with Till in relentless pursuit. Thompson also wound up on the wrong side of the most decisive moment in the 25-minute affair when his British counterpart dropped him with a thudding left in the fifth round. “Wonderboy” recovered quickly and returned to his feet, but the damage had been done and an already raucous crowd was whipped into a frenzy.
Till, 25, has pieced together a four-fight winning streak since he returned from shoulder surgery in 2017.
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Magny Swamps Newcomer White
“The Ultimate Fighter 16” semifinalist Neil Magny took care of Craig White with a knee strike and follow-up punches in the first round of their welterweight co-main event. A short-notice substitution for the injured Gunnar Nelson, White (14-8, 0-1 UFC) wilted 4:32 into Round 1.
The 30-year-old Magny (21-6, 14-5 UFC) countered a level change from the taekwondo black belt, landed in mount and returned to his feet after a brief ground exchange. The Elevation Fight Team standout then pushed him to the fence, uncorked a knee strike to his face and flurried with punches for the finish.
Magny owns a 12-3 record across his last 15 outings, losing only to Rafael dos Anjos, Lorenz Lark and Demian Maia.
Once-Beaten Allen Taps Burnell
Tristar Gym prospect Arnold Allen submitted Mads Burnell with a beautifully conceived front choke in the third round of their featherweight showcase. Allen (13-1, 4-0 UFC) brought it to a close 2:41 into Round 3, putting his sixth consecutive win in the books.
Burnell (9-3, 1-2 UFC) appeared to have the upper hand for much of their encounter, as he short-circuited the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship veteran’s efforts with takedowns, positional control and ground-and-pound. Bottled up along the fence while defending a takedown in the third round, Allen found the opening for which he was hunting. He snaked his arms around Burnell’s exposed neck, collapsed on top of him and forced the tapout.
The 24-year-old Burnell has lost three of his past four bouts.
Returning Amirkhani Edges Knight
SBG Ireland export Makwan Amirkhani did just enough to get by Jason Knight, as he eked out a split decision over the Alan Belcher protégé in their three-round featherweight feature. Judges Mark Collett and Howard Hughes saw it 29-28 for Amirkhani, while Andy Roberts struck a 30-27 scorecard for Knight.
Back in the cage for the first time in more than a year, Amirkhani (14-3, 4-1 UFC) waded through significant difficulty. Knight (20-5, 4-4 UFC) planted him on the canvas twice in the opening round, the right uppercut doing the damage on both occasions. Amirkhani recovered and altered the direction of the fight with a pair of second-round takedowns. He executed another in the third, wobbled Knight with a right hand and countered an attempted kneebar into top position before applying his ground-and-pound.
Amirkhani, 29, has won five of his last six fights.
Silva Choke Submits Taleb
London Shootfighters standout Claudio Henrique da Silva submitted Nordine Taleb with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Taleb (14-5, 6-3 UFC) conceded defeat 4:31 into Round 1, his modest two-fight winning streak at an end.
In his first appearance since Nov. 8, 2014, Silva (12-1, 3-0 UFC) started slow and spent requisite time getting his bearings. He struck for a takedown, freed himself from an attempted leg lock, punished Taleb with ground-and-pound and advanced to full mount. Elbows fell before Silva transitioned to the back and secured his position with a body triangle. Taleb then felt the Brazilian’s crushing squeeze, struggled briefly to escape and tapped.
Silva has recorded 12 straight victories, seven of them via submission.
Stewart Wrecks Reeling Spicely
Darren Stewart disposed of Tristar Gym rep Eric Spicely with punches in the second round of their featured battle at 185 pounds. Spicely (10-4, 2-4 UFC) succumbed to blows 1:47 into Round 2, as he suffered his third straight defeat.
Stewart (8-3, 1-3 UFC) kept himself upright against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, using his superior skill and speed to seize control in the standup exchanges. He staggered Spicely with straight right, swarmed for a potential finish and reset when an opportunity did not present itself. Stewart later floored “The Ultimate Fighter 23” graduate with a left jab, trailed him to the canvas end cut loose with hammerfists, elbows and punches with both hands until referee Leon Roberts had seen enough.
The win snapped a three-fight losing streak for Stewart.
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