At UFC 244, former UFC welterweight title challenger Darren Till picked up his first victory as a middleweight, defeating former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum by split decision. Till’s debut middleweight victory seems to have impressed the division’s former ruler Robert Whittaker.
Whittaker weighed in on the fight and Till’s middleweight future on Grange TV.
While Whittaker acknowledged the competitive nature of the matchup, and even stated it could have been scored a draw, he says he was impressed by Till’s performance.
“Till was landing a lot of clean shots,” Whittaker said. “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.”
Having watched Till’s middleweight debut, Whittaker is optimistic the Brit will perform well in the division — perhaps even better than he did at welterweight, where he previously earned a title shot.
“He looks as good as he was in welterweight,” Whittaker said.
“Probably better,” Whittaker added when asked how Till will do at middleweight compared to welterweight. “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.”
These comments from Whittaker are particularly interesting given that he, like Till, previously competed at welterweight. After a lengthy stint at 170 pounds, he marched up to 185 and ultimately won the division’s title. Whittaker surrendered the title to Israel Adesanya in October.
What do you think of this breakdown from Robert Whittaker? What did you think of Darren Till’s middleweight debut?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/4/2019.