Darren Till earned a much needed win at Madison Square Garden this past Saturday, beating Kelvin Gastelum via split decision in the UFC 244 co-main event to cement himself as a legitimate contender in the UFC’s talent-stacked middleweight division.
Although it wasn’t the most entertaining bout in the world, former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker credited ‘The Gorilla’ for executing a near flawless gameplan and putting on a ‘beautiful’ performance in his 185-pound debut.
“Till was landing a lot of clean shots,” Whittaker said on a recent episode of his podcast, Grange TV (h/t BJPenn.com). “I think that he was nullifying a lot of Gastelum’s striking, because he was stepping out on the jab, dropping his level on the two, and then turning it into the clinch.
“I think it was beautiful. I think Till came in with a great gameplan, I think he executed it perfectly, cause Gastelum is a super underrated, super, super dangerous fighter.”
Whittaker, who will look to return to the UFC sometime in the new year, believes Till looked even better at 185 lbs. than he did at 170 lbs. The Liverpudlian made the move to middleweight after suffering two crushing defeats to former welterweight champ Tyron Woodley and newly-crowned ‘BMF’ king Jorge Masvidal.
“He looks as good as he was in welterweight,” Whittaker said. “Probably better. He won’t be doing those harsh cuts anymore. And remember, this was his first fight at middleweight. He’s only going to fill out into it better.”
Till’s win over Gastelum netted the Brit a spot in the UFC’s official top-five middleweight rankings, which means the 26-year-old could be just one fight away from title contention.