Derek Brunson vs Darren Till Odds, Pick & Prediction: 2 Ways to Play Saturday’s UFC Main Event
Two of the best middleweights face off in an incredible showdown in the UFC main event this weekend. Fan-favorite Darren “The Gorilla” Till, once thought to be the next big European star, will fight Derek Brunson, who looked great in his recent fights despite being 37 years old.
This five-round fight should be competitive and many think Till could compete for a title at 185 pounds, including reigning champion Israel Adesanya.
So which fighter has the advantage in Saturday’s main event? I’ll break down the showdown below.
Till was impressively undefeated for the first three years of his UFC career, primarily at welterweight, eventually having to hit 185 due to his massive build. After defeating Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in a decision victory, he faced then-champion Tyron Woodley.
Woodley dominated that fight from start to finish, so much so that Till didn’t register a significant hit in nine minutes of action. That fight significantly stopped Till’s momentum – he was too young to jump up and face Woodley and the weight cut really drained the body out of him.
Till has had two middleweight fights since then. He won a close split decision against Kelvin Gastelum and was easily outscored by Robert Whittaker in a decision loss. The key word is a decision; Till used to rely heavily on his knockout power at welterweight and there are legitimate concerns about his power that translate into bigger opponents.
On the other side of the game, Brunson has shown his prowess in takedowns recently. Brunson’s last two opponents, Kevin Holland and Edmen Shahbazyan have almost non-existent takedown defense. I wouldn’t expect that to continue in this fight as Till has a much better defensive grip than either of those two fighters.
Brunson will want to tire Till and win the fight as he progresses into the deeper rounds. He will have to use the clinch and grip to empty Till’s gas tank. If he doesn’t pull this off, Till is shaping up to be a far better striker than he should be, and he can easily win the punching battle.
I don’t like to bet on either fighter’s money line – if you are looking to bet on Brunson, the only way to play would be to bet live after Round 1. If you survive the first round, your chances of winning are drastically increased . . .
Until he has lost a decisive fight in his career, against the current challenger to the middleweight title, Whittaker and Brunson are shaping up to be a significant step in the competition by comparison.
Dana White is definitely giving Till an easier showdown this time around. If Till wins this fight, he would expect him to face Jared Cannonier or Marvin Vettori before he gets a title shot.
Both fighters had their most recent fights in a decision and I would expect a similar result in this fight. Brunson has had three of the four fights by choice, so his average fight time of just 8:21 is mostly due to his earlier career fights.
The 2.5+ round accessory is set to -118 on PointsBet and I would lower it to -135, but there is more value in other accessories. The fight for distance is set at +150 on PointsBet, which is also a very solid line (40% implied odds). In fact, I predicted that this line would be closer to being closer to a pick’em at -115, so I think there is significant value there.
I will also play Till to win this fight by decision at +350. If he comes out of the first round, we should move towards a decision based on his style and I think it is very likely that Till will take the victory with his creative and flashy tendencies.