Liverpool is set to be the home of the Octagon this Sunday night as hometown heroes Molly McCann and Darren Till look to announce themselves as true contenders in front of a sold out crowd.
Liverpool is certainly a city that has all eyes on it this weekend. Liverpool take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final the night before a raucous crowd enters the Echo Arena for a night of scraps as the UFC touches down in Liverpool for the first time.
The Main Event
In the evening’s main event, Liverpudlian Darren Till (16-0-1) makes his sixth foray into the Octgaon having made quick work of fan favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in October last year. This time out, Till finds himself in battle against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (14-2-1) who has fought for the title twice in recent fights and looks to get back to title contention as soon as possible.
Till has headlined a UFC once before in his last bout but it is Thompson who is no stranger to a long drawn out 5 round fight having gone the full 25 minute distance three times in his career.
Both men are heavy handed with 17 KO’s between them (Till 10, Thompson 7) but it’s an interesting clash of styles that lay before us on Sunday.
Till is a strong and powerful boxer with some excellent footwork but solving the riddle that is Thompson that has been the issue for his previous opponents. With his rangey karate style, kicks and punches come at all angles and concentration is of extreme importance when facing him.
Till certainly has the experience of a five round fight and has the patience to not go all guns blazing early doors and burn through his cardio. Till, who is fighting in front of an expectant home crowd would be wise not to rush in right away and leave himself open to getting clipped early on thus throwing his entire game plan out the window.
It’s possible that this will be a gruelling battle of wits and when you are as heavy handed as Darren Till is, there is always a chance he can catch his opponent but Thompson with all of that skill and experience, this is a fight that could cause Till a lot of problems but is certainly must see TV on Sunday night.
The Co-Main Event
Originally slated to face Gunnar Nelson before an injury forced him out, Neil Magny (20-6) faces Cage Warriors veteran Craig White (14-7) on short notice.
While it is difficult to know how long White had been in training prior to the call up, “The Thundercat” is eager to showcase his skills and arrives into this fight currently on a four fight winning streak with three of his last four victories ending in the very first round.
In front of him though is easily his toughest opponent to date. Despite Magny’s ‘stop-start’ record to date, he has fought some of the biggest names in the welterweight decision such as Rafael Dos Anjos, Demian Maia and most recently, a victory over former title contender Carlos Condit back in December.
White is well known on the European circuit and while there is footage available to Magny, it is hard to know how his training camp changes in preparation for this fight and with a relative unknown, the Devon native is eyeing up a shock victory in his UFC debut.
The Rest of the Card
Kicking off the first of 12 fights is the only other Liverpudlian on the card in the ever popular “Meatball” Molly McCann (7-1) who makes her UFC debut after a devastating TKO victory over Bryony Tyrell in the same arena she fights in on Sunday.
Opposite McCann is Canadian Gillian Robertson (4-2) who impressed in her flyweight debut late last year with a submission win over Emily Whitmore.
In a classic ‘striker vs grappler’ showdown, expect fireworks early doors and with a raucous crowd behind her, look for McCann to start fast but she can’t afford to get complacent and give up an early takedown against a submission expert like Robertson who has finished two of her three submission victories by armbar.
How to Watch
All the action begins on Sunday on UFC Fight Pass at 3pm. BT Sport 2 will show televised prelims and the main card from 4pm. (All times BST)
You can view the entire fight card below.
Main Card (BT Sport 2 – 6pm BST):
Darren Till vs Stephen Thompson
Neil Magny vs Craig White
Arnold Allen vs Mads Burnell
Jason Knight vs Marwan Amirkhani
Davey Grant vs Manny Bermudez
Eric Spicely vs Darren Stewart
Prelims (BT Sport 2 – 4pm BST):
Claudio Silva vs Nordic Taleb
Daniel Kelly vs Tom Breese
Brad Scott vs Carlo Pedersoli Jr
Gillian Robertson vs Molly McCann
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (3pm BST):
Trevor Smith vs Elias Theodorou
Gina Mazany vs Lina Lansberg