Till, emanating from the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. The Octagon debuts in Liverpool with their yearly traditional event on Memorial Day Weekend, bringing one of the best match-ups of the year in the headline position. Former welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson goes for his second straight win and potentially another crack at the pound title when he takes on the undefeated hometown hero, Darren Till. Thompson, still the top ranked contender at pounds, goes into enemy territory looking to build on his win over Jorge Masvidal in November. Till, the big attraction bringing the event to Liverpool, is looking to extend his fight unbeaten streak that last saw him destroying Donald Cerrone in one round in October.
All three judges gave the win to the year-old welterweight, who scored a knockdown in the final round. It was a close and strategic fight that saw long periods of relative inactivity, and most pundits appeared to hand the edge to Thompson.
Till was the aggressor more often, however, and the final round may have played a part. Ariel Helwani gave the fight to Thompson but could live with the final scores: Ariel Helwani arielhelwani Scorecards were and x2.
Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision , , Neil Magny def. Mads Burnell via submission front choke — Round 3, Makwan Amirkhani def.
Jason Knight via decision , , Claudio Henrique da Silva def. Nordine Taleb via submission rear-naked choke — Round 1, Darren Stewart def.
The high-level striker had only lost once in the Octagon in the last five years, and that defeat came against dominant welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. While the two balanced each other out nicely in Liverpool, Thompson's strikes landed a little cleaner, and his ability to counter shone brightly.
Till was more active in closing down the Octagon, but a lot of his strikes were glancing blows at best. He did have a big moment in the final round when he scored the knockdown, and the hometown fans made their voices heard every time he did as little as launch a light jab.
There were plenty of fans and pundits who feared what the judges would say: Jeremy Botter jeremybotter Thompson.
While several of the rounds were close, it's difficult to justify a card as one-sided as for Till. It was a clinical, impressive performance, but the year-old really got people talking with his post-fight comments.
Whether he's ready for such a challenge is debatable, but after back-to-back wins over Carlos Condit and now White, he's certainly in line for a bigger fight.
Fans Were the Real Winners of Amirkhani vs. Knight Brawl The fight between Amirkhani and Knight was loaded with expectations, with many fans of the sport expecting an all-out war between the two. Those who tuned in early to watch Sunday's action from Liverpool for this bout were rewarded with a fantastic contest that had a little bit of everything: Brett Okamoto bokamotoESPN That fight gave us a round of the year contender, and hopefully a Jason Knight "Your chin is weak, boy" t-shirt.
I've got Amirkhani winning Amirkhani controlled the opening round early before Knight scored two knockdowns, and he opted for a submission attempt rather than finish his visibly shaken opponent with more strikes.
The decision would cost him in a big way as the trash-talking Amirkhani won the next two rounds by controlling the action. While one of the judges inexplicably scored the fight for Knight, the other two got things right even if there would have been few complaints with a score the other way.