Early on, it looked like Robert Whittaker might take his second straight loss. But, the former middleweight champ rallied back from an early knockdown to best Darren Till.
Till charged out right out of the gate and Whittaker threatened with counters. Whittaker blitzed in and after a thumping clash, the former champ momentarily was put on the floor. Commentators confirmed after that Till had dropped Whittaker with an elbow. Till clinched up a couple of minutes in and then he threatened with a head kick.
Whittaker started to regain his composure and fired some big hooks. Whittaker scored with a legkick before the round ended.
Whittaker grazed Till with a winging left hook not long in. Not long after, Whittaker sent Till to the deck with a huge right hand and he took the top position. Whittaker scored with a hard elbow from above and then another. Till eventually worked his way out and up.
Whittaker planted a couple more calf kicks, but Till was clearly recovered by the end of the round and fired some big shots of his own.
Whittaker fired in another leg kick seconds into the frame. Till threatened with another headkick and then a hard left. Till told Whittaker to bring it after the former champ landed another calf kick. Till appeared to have something wrong with his left eye, but told Whittaker to keep fighting.
Later in the round, Whittaker changed levels but abandoned the takedown. Till ducked out of harms way of several big shots, before Whittaker threatened with another takedown. Close round.
In between rounds, it sounded like Till was telling his corner he’s having difficulties with one of his legs. likely his lead leg. Till just missed with a booming left moments in. Whittaker nicely checked a legkick attempt from Till a couple of minutes in. Till boomed in another hard elbow and then scored with a couple more shots that Whittaker ate.
The action slowed and then Whittaker changed levels, threatening the takedown. Whittaker looked for the takedown late in the frame but Till defended well. Whittaker planted a right moments later.
Another close round, but Whittaker likely had it.
Whittaker just missed with a huge right moments into the round. Till started moving forward more and fired in a nice left. Till threatened with a quick 1-2. Whittaker changed levels again and just missed with a left hook.
Till grazed Whittaker with a hard straight left and Whittaker countered with a couple of kicks. Whittaker once again, changed levels and fired hooks of the break. Till cracked Whittaker with an elbow and a cut on the head of the former champ streamed blood not long after.
Whittaker, finally, took Till down moments before the final horn went. Close bout, but it’s likely Whittaker’s.
All three judges scored the fight for Whittaker, who was fighting for the first time since last October, when he was stopped by Israel Adesanya.
UFC Fight Island 3 results
Here are the complete results UFC Fight Island 3 , which took place in Abu Dhabi.
Robert Whittaker def. Darren Till via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Mauricio Rua def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Fabricio Werdum def. Alexander Gustafsson via submission (armbar) R1, 2:30
Carla Esparza def. Marina Rodriguez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Paul Craig def. Gadzhimurad Antigulov via submission (triangle-choke) R1, 2:06
Alex Oliveira def. Peter Sobotta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Khamzat Chimaev def. Rhys McKee via TKO (punches) R1, 3:09
Francisco Trinaldo def. Jai Herbert via TKO (punches) R3, 1:30
Jesse Ronson def. Nicolas Dalby via submission (rear-naked-choke) R1, 2:48
Tom Aspinall def. Jake Collier via KO (punches) R1, 0:45
Movsar Evloev def. Mike Grundy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Tanner Boser def. Raphael Pessoa via TKO (punches) R2, 2:36
Pannie Kianzad def. Bethe Correia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Ramazan Emeev def. Niklas Stolze via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Nathaniel Wood def. John Castaneda via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)