It’s all to play for at UFC 228 in Dallas, Texas, as The American Airlines Center plays host to one of the most significant nights in British MMA history.
On Saturday, September 8, Darren Till leads the charge in a high stakes affair against welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. It’s one of the most anticipated 170lb clashes in years, and with the elite fighting ability of both men, there’s great hope that Till and Woodley can deliver one for the ages!
He isn’t alone, though, Craig White and Darren Stewart also feature on the billing, with exciting fights of their own.
British MMA fans can watch Till’s charge for gold and the rest of the action from Dallas, on UFC Fight Pass and BT Sport.
UFC 228 betting odds, walkout times and previews
Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Craig White
Channel: UFC Fight Pass
Estimated walkout: 12:20-12:25am
UFC 228 Betting Odds (PaddyPower): Diego Sanchez 7/4 vs. Craig White 2/5 – Click here for live odds
Drey’s Thoughts: For one of the first times in his career, Craig White enters a contest as the bookies’ favourite after spending the majority of his Cage Warriors tenure as an underdog. He came into the UFC with that moniker, too, against Neil Magny in Liverpool, but it’s certainly interesting to see them favour the Brit over the ageing, battle worn Diego Sanchez.
It’s no secret that White put his health at serious risk last time out, to make weight on 12 days’ notice.
With a full camp to prepare this time around, he told DreySports that his latest weight cut; which focused heavily on diet, was a breeze in comparison and his loss against Magny will certainly be overlooked with a big showing in Texas.
In comparison, Sanchez is what you’d consider an emotional fighter, he competes with his heart on his sleeve, with a high energy approach which can be as more of a hinderance than pragmatic.
If this one doesn’t pick up Fight of the Night I’d be shocked, especially after White’s mini-performance at the weigh-ins, where he planted a kiss on an unsuspecting Sanchez…
Middleweight: Charles Byrd vs. Darren Stewart
Channel: BT Sport 1HD
Estimated walkout: 1:05-1:15am
UFC 228 Betting Odds (PaddyPower): Charles Byrd 1/2 vs. Darren Stewart 6/4 – Click here for live odds
Drey’s Thoughts: Darren Stewart is the Brit going under radar this event, with a showdown against the well-performing Charles Byrd set for the UFC 228 prelims.
Dispatching of fellow Briton, John Phillips in his last fight, Byrd presents a sizeable risk to Stewart’s UFC future.
He may not be receiving as much love as his British compatriots, but “The Dentist” brings an enthralling style to the Octagon and he’s only been to the judges’ scorecards once in five spins.
Comparatively, it was a much needed rebound for Stewart at UFC Liverpool, where the Londoner snapped a three-fight losing streak to stop Eric Spicely in round two. He broke down in tears soon after, signifying the importance of the victory which most likely salvaged his UFC career.
Prior to that fight, he enlisted the help of a psychologist, according to The Sun.
Not the kind to turn down tough opponents, Stewart has another tall order in his scheduled scrap against Byrd. The Texan hasn’t lost since 2015 and has been blasting his way through the competition since debuting in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series last year.
Welterweight World Title: Tyron Woodley (C) vs. Darren Till
Channel: BT Sport 1HD
Estimated walkout: 5:15-5:40am
UFC 228 Betting Odds (PaddyPower): Tyron Woodley 11/10 vs. Darren Till 8/11 – Click here for live odds
Drey’s Thoughts: Well, he got over the first hurdle. After mountains of speculation, Darren Till made weight for his championship challenge, with a pound to spare! “The Gorilla” has been showered with criticism following a less than credible history on the scales, missing the mark twice before in UFC fights.
Alas, the fight is on, with Tyron Woodley bang on the money after a small blip which required him to re-weigh without his underwear. The underdog at the bookmakers, and underrepresented in the build, many people seem to be sleeping on Woodley’s chances to defend his championship for the fourth time. Of course, the mantra of Till has completely captivated the attention of fans, and unsurprisingly it has spurred the UFC to strap a rocket to his back to capitalise the Scouser’s surging popularity.
He has a lot to live up to though; with his own fighting words writing a check which he must cash in Dallas. It would be an incredible feat for British MMA if Till can get it done at UFC 228, as he endeavours to become only the second man behind Michael Bisping to hold UFC gold. He promised he would one day become ‘the greatest’ and on Saturday night, he could be one step closer to that epithet.