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People that followed me early on understood that from a striking perspective, I was pretty high on Darren Till. He has a very old-school, scrappers body with wide shoulders. He has a left hand that he just looks to uncork at all costs.
Till is a very calculated striker and when I mean calculated, he is not a fighter to waste many punches. His volume is rather low because he really does try to make everything he throws land with intent. There isn’t much touch-and-go with his style. He will hunt you down, measure you and look to let shots go. He won’t string sets of patterns together even though he has the pedigree to do so.
Till has become extremely self-reliant on landing his kill-shot that he has landed so many times before. The issue with that is it will work great until it starts to become very obvious to the opposition. Fighters start to read that and make blueprints around it from fight to fight.
With a 1-3 record in his last four fights, it’s clear that fighters are starting to put a bead on him now. It may be time to advance and change a few things to add some new tools. With his last fight against Robert Whitaker over a year ago, it would be extremely foolish if he didn’t sharpen his tool belt after more than a year of inactivity in the cage.
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He takes on a fighter that historically has had issues of his own in Derek Brunson. Brunson has been largely criticized for never really following a smart game plan in many of his fights. With a good motor and solid wrestling, Brunson tends to get baited into some ill-advised firefights. With that said, at 38 years old, it seems he has become smarter and wiser with his approach. His new home at Sanford MMA seems to have him dialed in and understanding that he needs to use all of his attributes in his game to make a late surge in his career.
I like what Brunson has been doing, and I think his approach can be a positive one against someone like Till that is a full-on striker that has no desire to tussle on the ground. With that said, Till has a way to keep you at bay the way he slowly mirrors you around the cage. He keeps you on the back foot which makes it difficult to get a good explosion on your shots.
How I See This Fight Shaking Out
Till may not have good wrestling, but his takedown defense is not all that bad, and if he can keep this on the feet then it’s his fight to win. The key for this fight is to keep moving laterally and to never move in and out for too long. Till must get off the centerline, switch angle, and make Brunson work off the back foot.
I think Round 1 will really tell a major story here. If Brunson has success on the ground against Till, then he can make Till very shy in his approach, but if Till shucks off Brunson with ease, then he will continue to march forward, stalking Brunson.
I don’t see this fight being a show-stopper, but I think it’s a fight that Till should win on overall skill alone. Brunson is a savvy vet and will have his spots, but Till wins this fight by being the cleaner striker, dictating the majority of terms.
The Pick: Darren Till
- Darren Till: $8,800
- 100+ Points: 1 of 10
- Current Market Value: 1 of 10
- Hedge: 5
Till is not a very high-volume striker. He is an economist. You need to understand the difference. He isn’t one to waste punches, and your DraftKings score isn’t something that’s on his mind. However, with economical striking comes precision and power. If he can keep this standing, he has 25 minutes to land that left hand like a machinist, and we all know Brunson can be hit and dropped. There is upside for a finish here.
- Derek Brunson: $7,400
- 100+ Points: 4 of 10
- Current Market Value: 6 of 10
- Hedge: 4
Brunson knows his path. However, knowing your path and being able to execute it are two different things. He needs to push the pace and keep his arms locked around Till’s hips, not allowing him to shake into space. Even if he fails on a few takedowns, he needs to pressure, pressure, pressure and keep Till from finding any sort of rhythm. The $7,400 tag is value in a five-round fight for any fighter, especially if he can ground this and keep it there. However, Till has pretty good takedown defense, and all the attempts may exhaust Brunson a bit down the stretch. The value is there though.
Vegas: No Straight