25 July 2020 02:52
With a new king sitting atop the UFC's middleweight division, UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Till closes out the promotion's stint on Fight Island with a main event that will provide extra clarity to the title picture. In the main event, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will take on rising contender Darren Till. Whittaker is fighting for the first time since losing the championship to Israel Adesanya this past October, a brutal second-round knockout loss. The defeat snapped a nine-fight winning streak for Whittaker, and perhaps more importantly, causing Whittaker to realize the demands of the sport had left him suffering from severe burnout.
Whittaker withdrew from a planned UFC 248 bout with Jared Cannonier and set out to get his mind right. Till entered the UFC as a welterweight and battled his way to a title shot despite struggling to make weight for several of his fights. He would ultimately lose by submission to then-champion Tyron Woodley, the first loss of his career. After being knocked out by Jorge Masvidal in his next fight, Till made the move back to middleweight, where he'd fought much of his career before entering the UFC. Till made an immediate impact at middleweight, taking a split decision victory over longtime contender Kelvin Gastelum. In the two other featured main card fights, Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will complete a trilogy that began in 2005 and Alexander Gustafsson will make his heavyweight debut against former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. Can't get enough UFC? Subscribe to my podcast--State of Combat with Brian Campbell--where I break down everything you need to know in the Octagon, including a complete preview of this weekend's action with Hall of Famer 'Suga' Rashad Evans. Here's the fight card for UFC on ESPN: Whittaker vs. Till with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook. Till card, odds Favorite Underdog Weightclass Robert Whittaker -130 Darren Till +110 Middleweight Mauricio Rua -190 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira +160 Light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson -360 Fabrico Werdum +280 Heavyweight Marina Rodriguez -180 Carla Esparza +155 Women's strawweight Paul Craig -130 Gadzhimurad Antigulov +110 Light heavyweight Alex Oliveira -170 Peter Sobotta +145 Welterweight Khamzat Chimaev -1200 Rhys McKee +750 Welterweight UFC on ESPN: Whittaker vs. Till viewing information Date: July 25 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET Location: Flash Forum--Yas Island, Abu Dhabi TV Channel: ESPN | Stream: ESPN+ Prediction Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till: The great unknown coming into the fight is where Whittaker is mentally. When he stepped away from training, he said every sacrifice he made was like "another knock" on him and his family. Those sacrifices, no matter how unfair, are what drove him to the top of the middleweight division. Till's offensive output can dip to frustrating lows during fights and an on-point Whittaker would eat that style alive. Pick: Whittaker via TKO4 Who will win Till vs. Whittaker, and how exactly will each fight on the card end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on Saturday, all from the accomplished expert who's up more than $20,000 and has nailed 14 of the last 15 main events.