LIVERPOOL’S Darren Till proved that he is the real deal and put the rest of the welterweight division on notice, as he earned a stunning first round stoppage of Donald Cerrone at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk on UFC Fight Pass.
Till, who remains unbeaten, backed up his words and big claims before the fight and proved that his fast rise is justified after a superb win and the Liverpool man could well set-up an exciting duel with Mike Perry.
The pair clashed during the Liverpool man’s post-fight interview, but first of all Perry must get past the difficult challenge that Santiago Ponzinibbio will provide him with on the 16th December in Winnipeg.
However, the night belonged to Till who demonstrated tremendous skill whilst remained incredibly composed, as he dispatched the veteran with consummate ease when the opportunity presented itself, earning himself a nice cheque for $50k at the same time with his “Performance of the Night bonus”.
Till took control of the centre of the Octagon, snuffing out Cerrone’s takedown attempt’s, as he dented “Cowboy’s” chin with some huge left hands. He set everything up with a sharp, spearing jab, as he pressed the action, but it was a quick elbow that signalled the beginning of the end for Cerrone.
The 24-year-old didn’t let his big chance go to waste, following it up with a hard left hand that had Cerrone reeling. As soon as “Cowboy” turned his back, Till was all over him, reigning in strikes and giving referee Marc Goddard no choice but to step in after 4:20 of the 1st. Who’s doubting him now?
In the co-main event, former women’s strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz put on a dazzling display to get past Jodie Esquibel, going home with a unanimous decision win, which was correctly scored 30-27 by all three judges.
The Pole dominated in front of her fellow countrymen, landing over 40% of her strikes and confirmed her status as one of the top women’s strawweight’s in the UFC. She will now target a clash with Jessica Andrade, as both chase another shot at champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Also earning a “Performance of the Night” bonus was the popular light-heavyweight Jan Blachowicz, who stunned Devin Clark with an excellent submission win in the second round and keep the Polish momentum on the main card rolling on.
It was a close first round, however Blachowicz controlled the action in the second with a takedown. A break was called due to a low blow, but the Pole wasted no time and sank in a tight standing bulldog choke which Clark immediately tapped out to.
With the win, Blachowicz snapped a two fight losing streak, whilst Clark slipped to his first loss in three.
Oskar Piechota made it three wins from three on the main card for the home fighters, with an impressive win over Jonathan Wilson in the middleweight division. Piechota, who maintains his unbeaten slate was in control from start to finish, almost forcing a submission win in the final seconds of the third.
On the preliminary card, lightweight Marcin Held finally got his first win in the UFC at the fourth attempt, getting the better of late replacement Nasrat Haqparast by unanimous decision in the lightweight division. Held, took it 30-27 on all three scorecards.
In the “Fight of the Night”, bantamweight Brian Kelleher put on a quality display, stopping Damian Stasiak in the third, dropping the Pole and unleashing a barrage of punches to earn the stoppage win.
Ramadan Emeev was victorious on his UFC debut, beating the experienced Sam Alvey 30-27 on all three cards. It wasn’t the most memorable of fights, but an unsurprising result as Alvey failed the weight after been drafted in at late notice. The fight was instead scheduled for a 189lb catchweight.
Featherweight Andre Fili also picked up a unanimous decision win, 30-27 on all three cards, in a forgettable encounter with Artem Lobov, which will be better remembered for referee Goddard pausing the action to send Lobov’s teammate Conor McGregor away from the cage. Lobov is now considering retirement.
Aspen Ladd overcame a difficult first round in her UFC debut to stop the tough Lina Lansberg in the second, whilst Warlley Alves was too good for Salim Touahri in their welterweight clash, leaving his opponent’s backyard with a unanimous decision win.
Finally, Josh Emmett marked his first fight at featherweight with a dominant win over a lacklustre Felipe Arantes. Emmett dropped Arantes four times in the first before cruising to the win which opened up the card.