Darren Till got back to winning ways at UFC 244 tonight in his middleweight debut with a split decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum.
Gastelum pressing forward immediately and lands a right hand as they clinch up. They jockey for position against the cage and it’s Gastelum who wins that battle for now. Not for long though as now Till reverses him and then moves away.
Leg kick for Till. Feints from Gastelum as he stands in the center of the Octagon. Another clinch position and Gastelum works him to the cage and lands the knee to the body.
Till reverses the position now. He doesn’t do anything with it though and so Gastelum gets control again and starts looking for a potential takedown. Again the reversal from Till, and then again from Gastelum. Another knee to the leg from Gastelum.
Knee to the body from Gastelum almost strayed to the groin there. Body punch for him. They break away to striking range.
Leg kick for Till. Another leg kick for Till after a brief clinch. They exchange leg kicks. Another leg kick for Gastelum. Punches from Gastelum come up short.
Outside leg kick for Till. Clinch work again in the center of the cage, but then they move apart. Till with the leg kick swiftly.
solid left hand for Till in the final 10 seconds of the round.
Solid leg kick for Gastelum to start the second round. He misses with another and Till lands one of his own.
Knee to the body from Gastelum. A brief lull in the action now. Outside leg kick for Till. Now a quick left hand as he darts in.
Leg kick for Gastelum. Darting in with a knee for Till. Clinch again and Till walks his opponent over to the cage, only for Gastelum to reverse. Nice elbow from Gastelum. Eyepoke from Gastelum forces a brief stoppage.
Nice punch on the restart from Till. Leg kick for him and one in return from Gastelum.
Clinch in the center of the cage and Gastelum drives Till over to the cage. Gastelum trying to work for a takedown here, but unable to do so.
Till tries to push off the cage, but Gastelum brings him back to the fence. However they soon split apart.
Gastelum moving forward and lands another solid leg kick. Double jab for Till. Another leg kick from Gastelum.
Once more Gastelum goes back to the outside leg kick. Now an inside one. Gastelum tries for punches upstairs, but still struggling to find his range in that regard. Takedown attempt from Gastelum is stuffed.
Back to the leg kick for Gastelum as the round comes to a close.
Jab for Gastelum, kick from Till and then a leg kick from Gastelum. Kick from Gastelum is caught and Till lands a punch.
Till gets into the clinch, but can’t manufacture a takedown and they go back to striking. Hard left hand for Till.
Body shot for Gastelum and then a left hand in close. Spinning elbow from Till.
Leg kick for Till now. Short flurry from Till. leg kick for Gastelum. Uppercut for Gastelum.
Body kick from Gastelum, but Till catches it and knocks him off-balance to the mat. Gastelum straight back up though.
Gastelum pressing forward but misses with a right hook . Glancing right hand from Till and now a knee.
Till attempts a takedown and bundles Gastelum over. Straight back up though. left hand from Till and a body punch from Gastelum.
Till clinches up and then breaks apart, breaking up Gastelum’s rhythm.
Gastelum in on a double leg and lands it, getting his first successful takedown. For a moment Till has given up his back, but stands and is back to striking range.
Hard leg kick for Gastelum. Now a body punch. He gets another good double leg and again Till is straight back up.
Gastelum closing the distance in the final seconds of the round and throws a few punches with Till up against the cage.
Some interesting scorecards here after a close fight. One judge has it 30-27 for Gastelum, but two have it in Till’s favor, 30-27 and 29-28, and so he emerges with split decision victory.