Main Event: Derek Brunson vs Darren Till
Key Stats: 29 takedowns landed (3rd), 31.2% takedown accuracy (9th), 8 finishes (tied 1st)
What It Means: Brunson is an explosive fighter who has learned to hone his athletic skills in the most efficient way, especially of late. He has heavy hands and tenacious wrestling, and as he’s learned to blend those skills with a patient approach, he has found plenty of success against the best middleweights. He can often walk opponents down because of the threat of his wrestling, and he does well to disguise shots with big punches or feint a takedown attempt and come over the top with a huge punch.
Key Stats: 2.27 strikes landed per minute, 46% striking accuracy, 82% takedown defense
What It Means: “The Gorilla” is a tenacious Muay Thai technician. From his southpaw stance, Till constantly uses feints and sets traps to land his big left hand. His kicks come heavy and varied, and he is pretty strong in clinch situations as well, landing elbows and knees. He stays committed to body kicks as well, but his best strike is his straight left. He rarely throws one at a time, and his striking combinations come fluidly.
What to Look For in the Fight: Brunson’s path of least resistance is likely utilizing his wrestling, but he can’t just shoot wildly and telegraphed. He’ll need to rely on his more methodical approach that has him on an upward streak right now and pick his moment against Till. Liverpool’s Till will undoubtedly do everything to keep the fight at distance and on the feet, and he has plenty of tools at his disposal to do just that. His kicks might not come as frequently, but in using feints and long strikes, he might keep Brunson at bay, while Brunson might be able to use the threat of his wrestling to come with heavy, malicious shots of his own.
Co-Main Event: Tom Aspinall vs Serghei Spivac
Key Stats: 7.43 strikes landed per minute, 2:50 average fight time, 66% striking accuracy
RELATED: Tom Aspinall Thrives Under Pressure
What It Means: Aspinall is a swift-footed, powerful heavyweight with a real polished skill set on the feet and on the mat. When he strikes, he utilizes plenty of feints and fast combinations. He has shown the ability to chain punches, kicks, knees and elbows all in a single flurry, overwhelming his opponent. He also has good grappling credentials, which he showed in his submission win against Andrei Arlovski.
Key Stats: 35.5% control time (4th), 32.6% top percentage (3rd), 2.83 takedowns per 15 minutes
What It Means: Moldova’s “Polar Bear” is a suffocating presence in the Octagon. He is methodical in how he closes distance, and once he gets his hands on an opponent, his strength and keen sense of leverage allows him to control his opponent against the fence and on the mat. He’ll threaten various submissions from there or feel free to rain down ground-and-pound shots.
What to Look For in the Fight: Aspinall should be able to use his speed and footwork to keep Spivac at distance until he chooses to engage. Spivac will likely need to eat some shots to walk Aspinall down and get him against the cage, and from there, the grappling exchanges will be telling. If Aspinall’s defense is solid, he could find submissions of his own or disgruntle Spivac and keep the fight a striking battle where Aspinall has the clearer advantage.
Other Fights to Watch (Julian Erosa vs Charles Jourdain)
Key Stats: 6:59 average fight time (4th all-time among FW), 1.29 takedowns per 15 minutes, 5.1 strikes landed per minute
What It Means: Erosa is a skilled fighter who can really melt into whatever version of a fight manifests in the Octagon. He has solid grappling skills and is a willing brawler, so it’s more or less up to him whether he wants to follow the fight where it goes or try to do more dictating. He’s a rangy striker who likes to throw the occasional flashy technique, and he is sound when clinching and taking his opponent down to the canvas.
Key Stats: 5 knockdowns landed (tied-8th), 4.79 strikes landed per minute, 47% takedown defense
What It Means: “Air” Jourdain is an exciting, explosive striker who has a knack for entertaining while fighting. He loves to throw a flying knee or other unorthodox techniques, but when he keeps it simple, he is devastating. His hands are smooth, and his legs are heavy when he throws kicks. When he smells a finish, he pounces with style.
What to Look For in the Fight: This could turn into a fun striking battle with two fighters showing all their tools on the feet, but if Erosa wants to mix things up, he has a grappling advantage between the two. He can’t do so recklessly, as Jourdain has shown decent takedown defense and good timing with anti-wrestling strikes like uppercuts and flying knees. Jourdain might need to rely on his footwork and long-range strikes to keep Erosa at bay.
*Hasn’t competed in current weight class enough to qualify in UFC Record Book