Exclusive: An interview with Jason “The Kid” Knight: “It really p****d me off the way the judges are just playing with people’s careers”

UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Till seems like an age ago. Over one month ago, the UFC headed to Liverpool, England to showcase a card of homegrown and international talent for a packed out Liverpool Echo Arena. With botched weight cuts, lackluster home-fighter performances and 5 round striking duels, some of the bouts on the lower spectrum of the card have since been long forgotten.

A fight that drew a lot of attention at the time, was a featherweight prospect clash between an out of form but game, Jason “The Kid” Kid Knight and European starlet Makwan “Mr Finland” Amirkhani. Both fighters were coming off a loss, so it was a chance for both the right those wrongs and make progress in the division. With pre-fight insults and weigh-in altercations aside, both fighters entered the cage on fight night with a point to prove.

Continue reading “Exclusive: An interview with Jason “The Kid” Knight: “It really p****d me off the way the judges are just playing with people’s careers””

Video: Behind the scenes of Darren Till’s UFC Liverpool weight cut

Fans and professionals alike have had a lot to say about Darren Till weighing in 3.5lbs over the welterweight limit last weekend.

By Tills own admission, he is a large welterweight. We know he has a tough cut in the best of circumstances. While he has admirably taken full accountability and refused point blank to offer excuses for his miss, the UFC made it clear that a personal emergency interrupted his weight cut process the night before weigh ins.

Earlier today Paddy Power, one of Till’s sponsors, released some behind the scenes footage shot by members of the Liverpudlian’s camp during his ill fated attempt to reach 171lbs.

Whatever your opinion of Till, it does not make for comfortable viewing but I highly encourage you to take a look at it before forming an opinion.

Opinion: What next for Darren Till

The main event of UFC Liverpool promised a chess match of a striking contest between two of the most accomplished and dangerous talents in the hugely stacked welterweight division. It surely delivered on it’s tension filled five round promise (albeit short of clear cut offensive action.)

Ultimately, it was a lacklustre 25 minute clash, with an already under scrutiny Darren Till claiming a split decision win over Stephen Thompson following a botched weight cut on Saturday morning. Hometown hero Till, stepped onto the scales weighing a massive 174 pounds, until it was revealed his pregnant partner was in hospital suffering complications with her pregnancy. Adding to the growing list of weigh in headaches in 2018, Thompson and his team negotiated a deal that would see the main event go ahead, forcing Till to hand over 30% of his fight purse and upon midday of fight day, had to successfully weigh in no more than 188lbs.

So with new terms reached, the main event at the Echo Arena was back on.

An almost point fighting, hugely composed display from both men filled the 25 minute period, with ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s impeccable footwork and Karate blitz counter striking forcing the heavy handed Till to conserve his energy and carefully throw that clubbing left hand. A shot he landed expertly in the final round, dropping Thompson for a brief moment. A split decision was questionably awarded to Till, with Thompson doing enough to win 3 of the 5 rounds in my opinion.

So what’s next for Darren Till?

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington loser: I certainly don’t believe Darren Till deserves a title tilt just yet, especially with his weight cut fiasco and the controversial nature surrounding his decision victory.

In just over two weeks time, a legitimate challenger for Tyron Woodley will be established in Chicago at UFC 225, as former lightweight trail blazer Rafael dos Anjos meets brash trash talker Colby Covington for the interim 170lbs championship. The perfect match up to test Till in my opinion, would see him challenge the loser of the RDA and Covington fight.

It had be said, “The Gorilla” is yet to be tasked with dealing with a supreme and superior wrestler, something dos Anjos and maybe more so, Amercian Top Team’s Colby Covington represents. I’m currently leaning towards dos Anjos to stop Colby, subsequently taking the interim crown.

So why not pit Till versus the loud mouth Oregan State All-American?..

Kamaru Usman: It remains to be seen if Till will leapfrog Stephen Thompson and claim the #1 spot at welterweight. This is particularly due to his failure to make the 170lbs limit, so if he moves a few considerable ranks, face him off against fellow up and coming talent Kamaru Usman.

With head honcho Dana White confirming that Till will in fact fight in Vegas in his next trip to the octagon, a PPV spot containing both future champions in my opinion, will further bolster their recognition in a heated welterweight division. Usman is a cerebral wrestler who crept past Demian Maia at UFC Chile recently, but his “safety first” approach replicates champion Tyron Woodley to a certain extent. This would afford Till another opportunity to be tested against a high level wrestler.

Robbie Lawler: If this dream matchup gets made and if Till emerged with the win, it almost represents a certain passing of a welterweight torch (even more so than RDA’s demolition of “Ruthless” Robbie). Dos Anjos mauled Lawler unquestionably, ensuring he is seen as a certified elite mixed-martial artist who has reinvigorated his career since his venture up a division.

Till is still a huge prospect but a stoppage win in particular over the blood and guts veteran that is Robbie Lawler represents arguably the biggest feather in his cap to date.

News: Darren Till vs Wonderboy – Twitter reaction round-up

The UFC’s first trip to Liverpool is in the books and after a closely fought, tactical battle of a main event, local hero Darren Till walked away with the unanimous decision victory.

As can be expected when a local fighter wins a close fight in their home town, the MMA community wasted little time in taking to Twitter to share their reactions to both the fight and the decision.

Take a look at some of the highlights below.

 

Live Results: UFC Liverpool – Thompson vs Till

27th May 2018 – The wait is finally over for UFC Liverpool, and yesterday’s weigh- in drama can be forgotten. With some controversy, Darren “The Gorilla” Till and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will be going to head to head in a jam-packed Echo Arena, Liverpool.

Keep checking back as we will be updating this page with live results as they happen. For round by round commentary and updates, head over to the MMAMotion twitter page from 3:30pm BST.

Main Card

  • Darren Till def. Stephen Thompson via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
  • Neil Magny def. Craig White via TKO – Round 1 (Ground Strikes)
  • Arnold Allen def. Mads Burnell via Submission – Round 3 (front headlock choke)
  • Makwan Amirkhani def. Jason Knight via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Claudio Henrique da Silva def. Nordine Taleb via Submission – Round 1 (RNC)
  • Darren Stewart def. Eric Spicely via TKO – Round 2 (strikes)

Preliminary Card

  • Tom Breese def. Daniel Kelly via TKO – Round 1 (strikes)
  • Lina Lansberg def. Gina Mazany via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Carlo Pedersoli Jr. def. Brad Scott via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Gillian Robertson def. Molly McCann via Submission – Round 2 (RNC)

Fight Pass Preliminary Card

  • Elias Theodorou def. Trevor Smith via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Opinion: UFC Liverpool Fan Picks – Wonderboy vs Till

On the eve of the pivotal welterweight bout between number one ranked Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and number eight ranked Darren “the Gorilla” Till, I reached out to popular Facebook group MMA Freaks, to ask members who they think will be victorious on Sunday evening in Liverpool.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the first three opinions below were given before Saturday morning’s weigh in drama unfolded.

In case you missed it (and if you did, where have you been?!), Till weighed in at 174.5lbs and will forfeit 30% of his purse to Thompson. In addition, Till will weigh in again at 1pm on Sunday before the bus leaves for the arena and must be no heavier than 188lbs.

Take a look at who the fans have picked and why below and let us know who you think will take the win in the comments.


Joey Jacalone – I’m cautiously picking Darren Till. I’m picking Till because as great as Wonderboy is, his style tends to get muted when herded towards the fence. Till, being able to play the role of both the bull and the matador in some fights, I feel can herd Wonderboy towards the fence using feints, which he has shown he is very good at using, and the threat of the left hand. I feel like this will cause many problems for Wonderboy, but I could absolutely be wrong if he can’t get him to the fence.


Anoop Nair – I am picking Wonderboy! Till has not faced this level of competition yet and Wonderboy is a genius at maintaining the distance and keeping his opponents at the end of his punching and kicks! Cardio plays a major factor as well! Wonderboy can go 5 rounds easy with the style but Till has already shown tendency to tire after round 2! It’s either Till KO’s Wonderboy within 2 rounds or Wonderboy will school him for 5 rounds!


Paul Hadley Miller –  I’m picking Wonderboy for these reasons:

  • Comparing the talent each man has faced in MMA, there is no comparison. Stephen Thompson has by far faced a higher level of MMA talent than Darren Till.
  • Till’s destruction of Cowboy Cerrone was a great win and a feather in his cap, but we all know that sometimes, ‘ol Cowboy’s head doesn’t make the trip into the Octagon.
  • Besides Cowboy, Till’s UFC wins have been two decisions, a draw, and a TKO – all against middling talent when compared to the talent faced by Thompson.
  • Till supposedly has this demigod-like kickboxing record – something like 44-0. But while one used to be able to find reference to it on Wiki and other sources, since he became a hot commodity in the UFC, that kickboxing record has mysteriously been scrubbed from any record I can find, leading me to think that it was unverified, and once Till became known, UFC handlers made sure that a false kickboxing record was not hanging out there to tarnish their rising star.
  • Experience. Stephen Thompson has gone 10 rounds with Tyron Woodley, has weathered the storm, and was not finished.
  • I am completely open to Darren Till proving me wrong. But with the information we have at our disposal at this moment, there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason to assume he’s going to beat Wonderboy Thompson.

Gregory Dorvil (MMAMotion) – In light of recent events, I’m picking Wonderboy to win via TKO. The weigh in complications will likely take their toll on Till, especially facing someone like Wonderboy.


Brad Dalrymple (MMAMotion) – I’m picking Till to win by KO in round 1 – I feel with Darren working on his usual forward pressure and distance control he will move quickly inside from the offset, close the distance and catch him early. That extra weight should prove very useful. Even Wonderboy will struggle to keep him at bay.


 

Thanks to MMA Freaks and specifically Joey, Anoop and Paul, Gregory and Brad for taking the time to provide their thoughts on the main event.

UFC News: Dana White and Conor McGregor to hold private discussions at UFC Liverpool

UFC President Dana White confirmed Saturday afternoon that he and star commodity Conor McGregor will meet at the Echo Arena this Sunday ahead of the promotion’s premier event on Merseyside.

During an interview with Caroline Pearce of BT Sport, White confirmed how he and Conor would sit down for the first time since the fiasco in Brooklyn ahead of UFC 223 in April. Dana refused to hint at a possible return date or a probable opponent for the Dubliner:

“This is the first time we’ve seen eachother since New York, so we’re just going to get in a room together and talk.”

Rumours suggested that the former featherweight and lightweight kingpin will make his first octagon appearance since November 2016. Possibilities include a September return, or possibly at UFC 232 in the curtain closer of 2018 against Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov for the 155lbs title. That being said, the rather large roadblock in that may halt those predictions is the New York City justice system, may prevent such a return.

McGregor will return to the Big Apple on June 14th after he was granted a $50,000 bail subsequently paid by Dillon Danis, ahead of a second hearing and verdict. The Crumlin striker was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after he threw a moving dolly through the window of a bus carrying blue corner fighters in the Barclays Centre car park. McGregor and his entoutage’s actions resulted in the removal of Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, Ray Borg, Brandon Moreno, Artem Lobov and Alex Caceres from the Madison Square Garden card. McGregor and SBG teammate Cian Cowley were ultimately arrested and held overnight in a New York City precinct after his private jet was grounded at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

A wide array of lawsuits and criminal damage fines are on the horizon for the Straight Blast Gym product, but he also faces the possibility of a suspension from the UFC. A certainly more realistic result is a severe fine, revoking of his fight license and community service from the NYC judicial system.

Interestingly, independent state athletic commissions such as New York, California or Las Vegas have a history of following suit if a license is revoked or a suspension is issued, casting further doubt on a possible return date or venue.

Father of one McGregor, recently posted on his official Twitter page, a picture of him in a cellar, with a caption hinting at his return:

These comments sent the MMA community into a spiral of chatter regarding a potential come back, further solidified by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s agent Ali Abdelaziz’s Twitter post, hinting at a possible meeting with McGregor:

I believe it’s safe to say, some sort of fight negotiations will be thrashed out between Conor and Dana sometime within this meeting.

More to follow as it happens…

Breaking News: Darren Till to face Stephen Thompson in UFC Liverpool main event

It’s official. Darren Till will face off with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the main event at UFC Liverpool on Sunday 27th May at the Echo Arena.

Till (16-0-1) campaigned hard for the UFC to bring an event to his home town and after months of calling out the majority of the welterweight division he has finally found a willing opponent in Wonderboy.

Number 1 ranked welterweight contender Thompson (14-2-1) hasn’t fought since picking up a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217 in November 2017.

UFC Liverpool will take place on Sunday May 27th at the Echo Arena. The confirmed fight card as things stand is as follows;

  • Darren Till vs Stephen Thompson
  • Gunnar Nelson vs Neil Magny
  • Tom Breese vs. Daniel Kelly
  • Trevor Smith vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart
  • Lina Lansberg vs Gina Mazny
  • Arnold Allen vs Mads Burnell

Breaking News: Nelson vs Magny to be confirmed for UFC Liverpool

After months of speculation over his next opponent, it seems Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson has finally found someone willing and able to face him in the octagon.

Nelson (16-3-1) is set to face off with Neil Magny (20-6-0) at UFC Liverpool on May 27th. The news that the fight was in the works was first reported on Twitter earlier today by Farah Hannoun.

A source close to the situation has since confirmed to MMAMotion that contracts have been signed by both fighters with the fight set to take place in Liverpool.

With home town hero Darren Till expected to face Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the main event, Nelson vs Magny would appear tailor made for the co-main event slot.

Nelson hasn’t fought since being on the receiving end of a controversial eye poke which led to a KO loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio in July last year. There were rumours of Nelson facing Till at UFC London earlier this month but illness prevented Till from being able to accept the fight. These rumours were rekindled when the UFC announced they were travelling to Dublin in May with Nelsons coach John Kavanagh pressing for the fight on social media. Now that the event has relocated to Liverpool and Till seems to  be on the brink of confirming a fight with Wonderboy, Nelson and his team have moved on and have found a willing opponent in Magny.

30-year-old Magny’s last outing was at UFC 219 where he earned a unanimous decision victory over veteran welterweight Carlos Condit. A veteran of eighteen UFC appearances, this will be the number nine ranked welterweight’s first time fighting in the United Kingdom.

UFC Liverpool will take place on Sunday May 27th at the Echo Arena. The fight card as things stand is as follows;

  • Darren Till vs Stephen Thompson (tba)
  • Gunnar Nelson vs Neil Magny (tba)
  • Tom Breese vs. Daniel Kelly
  • Trevor Smith vs. Elias Theodorou
  • Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart
  • Lina Lansberg vs Gina Mazny

 

Rumor: Darren Till vs Stephen Thompson set for UFC Liverpool

Per BJPenn.coms Chris Taylor, “Wonderboy” has agreed to face Till in the main event set for May 27th.

Till has pursued the fight with Thompson in the past, calling him out on several occasions.

The two were initially expected to fight on February 24th in London, but Thompson backed out citing a thumb injury he suffered at UFC 217 in a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal in November.

For Till, his last fight was a fantastic showing in which he dominated and stopped long time UFC veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the very first round.

While the UFC has yet to officially confirm, if this fight takes place it is sure to be an exciting display of high-level striking. Who takes it?