WATCH: Conor McGregor slammed for his post-fight comments to Artem Lobov
It was all eyes on Gdansk, Poland on Saturday night for UFC Fight Night 118 as Liverpool’s Darren Till took on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event and proceeded to turn the UFC’s welterweight division on its head.
Till was headlining his first ever UFC fight card in what was only his fifth fight under the UFC banner. His opponent, Cerrone, was the far more experienced fighter with over 41 professional fights and 11 co-main or main event fights in the UFC prior to Saturday evening.
Despite the discrepancy in experience, Till spoke confidently about his chances of winning the fight and he walked to the Octagon smiling and taking in the atmosphere of the sold out Ergo Arena. Cerrone similarly strode to the Octagon looking as if he was taking a stroll in the park with his coaches Brandon Gibson, Izzy Martinez and kickboxer Joe Schilling flanking him either side.
Till began the fight on the front foot and was looking to pressure Cerrone back against the fence before he defended a takedown. Cerrone then looked to implement his grappling once again just seconds later, but Till rose back to feet after spending just a matter of seconds on the mat. Till then landed his left hand a few times as Cerrone chopped away at his legs with some stiff kicks.
With the round closing out, Till drilled Cerrone with a left hand and followed up with an elbow to put him in trouble with his back against the fence. Till then finished the fight in sensational fashion as he landed several more shots on Cerrone as he covered up without responding. After several blows to the side of the head, Cerrone turned his back on Till and crumpled to the mat. The man from Liverpool then finished with a few more shots on the ground as referee Marc Goddard called the fight to an end.
Till had won in just four-minutes and 20-seconds and finished Cerrone just as he predicted. Following the fight, Till called out fellow UFC welterweight Mike Perry who was sat cageside.
Believe the hype, Darren Till is the real deal.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz gets back to winning ways
In the co-main event, former UFC strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz took on Jodie Esquibel who was making her first appearance under the UFC banner.
Kowalkiewicz started the fight aggressively in the first round and looked to put the pressure on her much shorter opponent.
Esquibel showed little signs of nerves though and she was able to slip the majority of Kowalkiewicz’s punches as the Pole tried to hunt her down.
Kowalkiewicz began to find her range better as the round progressed and she landed a few front kicks and right hands to redden the face of the American.
Both fighters traded some solid punches at the start of round two, but it was Kowalkiewicz who was continuing to press forward applying the pressure.
The Pole then landed a series of hefty knees in the clinch and Esquibel had to weather a barrage of strikes as Kowalkiewicz poured forward.
To her credit, Esquibel did well to stifle Kowalkiewicz’s oncoming attacks, but the Pole was clearly in the driving seat and towards the end of the round she took down to the mat and threatened with an armbar before time expired.
Round three started with Kowalkiewicz again being the aggressor. Esquibel landed a nice counter as Kowalkiewicz marched forward, but it still didn’t stop the Pole pressuring her onto the back foot. Kowalkiewicz continued to look to clinch up and land knees and with Esquibel beginning to tire, she did so with increasing frequency.
The Pole was simply on another level in the striking department and she deservedly took all the cards unanimously 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
Not even Conor McGregor could power Artem Lobov to victory
Elsewhere on the card, two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor made the trip over from Ireland to watch his teammate Artem Lobov take on Andre Fili. McGregor shouted loud instructions through the cage in the first round, but Lobov was picked apart by the American who dropped him with a stiff head kick with just seconds of the first five minutes remaining.
Midway through the second round, referee Marc Goddard paused the fight to warn McGregor to stop coaching his teammate.
With only three cornermen allowed per fighter, Goddard’s instructions for McGregor to sit down were correct, but McGregor at times just couldn’t help himself and every so often he’d bark out his advice.
Thankfully, any controversy was avoided, and Fili deservedly took the fight unanimously on the scorecards. To make matters worse, McGregor could find himself in hot water after a video clip emerged of him appearing to use a homophobic slur as he walked backstage after the fight was posted and quickly deleted on the UFC’s social media accounts.
Independent.ie contacted Conor McGregor's PR company for clarification and/or comment.
UFC Fight Night 118 Results:
Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (strikes), Round 1 - 4:20
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2 - 3:02
Oskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Marcin Held def. Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Brian Kelleher def. Damian Stasiak via TKO (strikes), Round 3 - 3:39
Ramazan Emeev def. Sam Alvey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Andre Fili def. Artem Lobov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Warlley Alves def. Salim Touahri via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Aspen Ladd def. Lina Lansberg via TKO (strikes), Round 2 - 2:33
Josh Emmett def. Felipe Arantes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Independent News Service