WATCH: Derek Brunson submits Darren Till in UFC Vegas 36 main event

derek brunson submits darren till
Aug 16, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Derek Brunson during weigh ins for UFC 241 at Anaheim Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Brunson submits Darren Till in the third round of their pivotal middleweight scrap in the main event of UFC Vegas 36.

The first round between the fifth-ranked Brunson and seventh-ranked Till set an early and expected narrative for the fight. On the feet, the 28-year-old Englishman had some decisive advantages in speed and technique. But on the ground, his nine years older opponent was stronger and had NCAA All-American wrestling that could keep him grounded. And both stories showed up in the opening five minutes.

As the second started, the big question was could Till develop a new storyline by shutting down Brunson’s wrestling advances, and keep the fight standing. Early on he was able to do just that and it forced his opponent to be very careful with his strikes and choices on when to shoot for a takedown. However, with a little bit of guts and timing Brunson once against was able to get his foe down, use his wrestling to control, and likely win the round.

Derek Brunson submits Darren Till in UFC Vegas 36 headliner

In the third, “The Gorilla” came out more aggressive. Trying to back Brunson up, and overwhelm him with strikes as he likely realized the direction the fight was going. As the round progressed, it seemed like the strategy was working as Till landed a punch that stunned the North Carolina native.

Yet, poor luck and unfortunate timing found Till again, as a close exchange of strikes allowed Brunson to get ahold of Till and again get him off his feet and to the mat. Brunson had the good fortune of landing in a full mount position and attempted to work over his opponent with punches. Feeling the danger he was in, Till gave up his back and his foe saw the chance to attempt a rear-naked choke.

Brunson worked for the choke, and he didn’t need much of a squeeze as Till tapped to the hold fairly quickly. The choke at 2:13 in the third round gave Brunson just the fourth submission victory of his 11-year career.

In victory, Brunson earned a fifth straight win in the Octagon and seems to be in the thick of the title contention conversation. In the post-fight interview, Brunson called for a fight against whoever wins in a likely championship rematch between current titleholder Israel Adesanya and former champion Robert Whittaker.

The defeat is a third in his last four bouts for Till. He has lost two of his three fights as a middleweight.

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