Robert Whittaker faced a big challenge this Saturday at UFC on ESPN 14, fighting a very dangerous Darren Till in his first fight since losing the middleweight belt to Israel Adesanya a year ago at UFC 243.
The former champion had to overcome some adversity early, as Till knocked Whittaker down with a punishing elbow early in the first round.
Whittaker reciprocated in the second round, scoring a knockdown of his own and going to the mat with Till, passing his guard and dishing out some ground and pound. This would be Whittaker’s most dominant round of the fight.
There was certainly a good degree of respect between the two strikers, as much of the fight was spent in kicking range, with both men trying to set up opportunities using feints and level changes.
The fight was close, but Whittaker outstruck Till every round following the first, including the fifth round where a left hand from Till opened up a nasty cut on Whittaker’s head.
It was a successful comeback for Whittaker, who was awarded a unanimous decision victory, with each judge scoring the fight 48-47 in his favor.
For Till, it was his first loss since moving up to middleweight. However, his stock could not have dropped too much after an admirable performance against the former champion.