With the shallow depth of the UFC middleweight division, it’s not out of the question that the next challenger for Israel Adesanya’s crown could emerge from Saturday’s main event bout between Derek Brunson and Darren Till. Brunson and Till headline UFC Vegas 36 from UFC Apex. The event streams on ESPN+.
Brunson, who made his debut with the UFC in 2012 with a win over Chris Leben in one of Leben’s final MMA fights, is on the second best run of his UFC career. Between August 2014 and September 2016, Brunson put together five straight wins — four via knockout — before Robert Whittaker stopped him in the first round of their November 2016 scrap. The loss to Whittaker was the start of a 2-4 run for Brunson. Entering Saturday’s matchup against Till, Brunson has won four straight. The No. 5 ranked fighter in the official UFC middleweight rankings, Brunson is coming off a March decision win over Kevin Holland.
Till began his MMA career on a 17-0-1 run. He earned a UFC welterweight title fight on the strength of a 5-0-1 stretch to open his career with the promotion. Till lost that fight to then-champion Tyron Woodley via submission. He is currently 1-3 in his past four fights and is coming off a July 2020 decision loss to Whittaker. Despite his 1-1 middleweight record since November 2019 — Till defeated Kelvin Gastelum via split decision — Till is the No. 7 ranked fighter in the official UFC 185-pound rankings.
Brunson has better offensive striking and grappling stats than his opponent. Despite those numbers, Till is favored to get the win when the two fighters step into the octagon on Saturday night at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
UFC Vegas 36: Brunson vs. Till
|Sig. Strikes Landed Per Min.||3.46||2.27|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.72||2.99|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||3.11||0.54|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||0.5||0|