Reigning UFC welterweight ruler Tyron Woodley put together by far his most complete title defense when he submitted formerly rising contender Darren Till in the main event of last night’s (Sat., September 8, 2018) UFC 228 from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Woodley showed the trademark athleticism and speed on his feet that earned him the title, and he mixed that with a smothering wrestling attack early coupled with a fight-sealing submission skillset later in the fight. “The Chosen One” opened up on the fight in an interview on the FOX Sports 1-aired post-fight show, noting that he had to use some new tools to set up his go-to right hand due to the labrum injury that had kept him out for the prior 14 months.
He revealed he was more than prepared for the huge straight right that spelled the beginning of the end for the Liverpudlian rising star:
“You know, I didn’t have much of a choice. Obviously, I had a right labrum tear. So it forced me to utilize new tools – left hooks, jabs, leg kicks, high kicks. So when I ‘m bringing in those new tools and those new skills, it disguised my right had more. I was really just punching, weaving with him, so if you punch against Darren Till as he’s backing up, he steps back and counters really well.
“So I knew that my opportunity was going to be punches in bunches or I have to punch with him. So as you saw when I dropped him, he was throwing a jab, I weaved on the outside and threw a right hand down the middle, something we drilled a million, million times.”
Woodley controlled the action in the first round with his wrestling game, yet it wasn’t nearly as successful as his striking was in the second. The champion was never in trouble, but his takedown attempts were unsuccessful and lead to some brief clinch periods. When they did, referee Dan Miragliotta restarted the action seemingly far earlier than one would expect.
Woodley said he didn’t care about that when he was asked, however. He knows fans want to see striking. “The Chosen One” also wasn’t looking to use all his energy on his much taller opponent. Overall the champ was ready for however long it took to win the pivotal 170-pound match:
“Not really. Some people want to see more of a striking attack. He’s a tall guy, I didn’t wanna waste a lot of energy. I had a nice body lock on him so I was trying to hook his ankle and get him off balance so maybe I can land a knee to the body and get him to hunch him over. But he wasn’t really giving it up.
“He actually pulled himself to the octagon because he felt more comfortable having the octagon and himself defending me. So I was just relaxed, and I was just, you know, it might take one round, it might take two, it might take five, but I was gonna get the job done.”