Thursday, December 8, 2022

Du Plessis Believes Till Had The “Wrong Approach” To MW Move

UFC middleweight Dricus Du Plessis has explained why Darren Till’s approach to moving up in weight was “wrong.”

At the promotion’s final pay-per-view event of the year, fast-rising South African Du Plessis will get a major opportunity to make a statement inside the Octagon.

After arriving in the UFC by knocking out Markus Perez on debut and Trevin Giles in his sophomore outing, “Stillknocks” burst into the rankings by outpointing perennial contender Brad Tavares at UFC 276 this past July.

Now, Du Plessis will look to jump into the top 10 by adding to the woes of one-time UFC title challenger Till when they meet at UFC 282 on December 10.

Since arriving at his first championship opportunity in the UFC with an unbeaten 17-0-1 record, Till has struggled for form. After consecutive losses to Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal at welterweight, “The Gorilla” moved to 185 pounds.

But while he showed promise with a debut win over Kelvin Gastelum, Till has since lost back-to-back contests against Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson.

For Du Plessis, the Liverpool native’s struggles at middleweight are for good reason.

Du Plessis: Till Didn’t Put On “Good Weight”

During a recent interview with The AllStar’s John Hyon Ko, Du Plessis discussed his upcoming opponent’s run of poor form, which has seen him go 1-4 across his last five appearances.

For the South African, Till’s struggles derive from a rushed middleweight move. Du Plessis is well placed to discuss the intricacies of a divisional switch, having made the jump from 170 to 185 pounds himself in 2019 following a knockout loss to Roberto Soldić.

But while the former KSW champion took a year out to adjust to the new weight class appropriately, he doesn’t believe Till followed the same path.

“You could see he was a big welterweight. Then he made the transition to middleweight, as I did,” Du Plessis said. “I took a year off to make the transition, doing it in the correct way. I felt with Darren Till, once he actually moved to middleweight, the change for him was, ‘This is going to be easier now.’ Now that he doesn’t have to cut the weight anymore and can eat a little bit better… That’s the wrong approach.

“Going up a division doesn’t mean it’s easier. Actually, it has to be harder because now you have to put on the muscle to the weight in a good way. You can’t put on fat and just go big, and think you’re gonna be competing with the best in the world that are real middleweights… I think that’s the mistake Darren Till made.”

Du Plessis also assessed Till’s one and only success at middleweight. According to the #13-ranked UFC 185lber, the fact that “The Gorilla” faced a former welterweight in his own right gave him a ‘false sense of confidence’ about what awaited him in his new weight class.

“His first fight, I think he fought Kelvin Gastelum as his first middleweight. Gastelum is definitely not a middleweight, in my opinion. He’s a very small middleweight… I think that gave Darren Till almost a false confidence that this move to middleweight — ‘See I told you, now I’m bigger and stronger.’ But he fought a very small middleweight, who’s also actually a welterweight.

“Then he started fighting the big boys at middleweight and things started to go a little south… The way he approached going to middleweight, he didn’t put on the good weight. We saw him in his last few fights — definitely not in shape, not the shape we know Darren Till to be in. He gassed out quick, got overpowered.”

In his most recent outing, Till fell to a disappointing defeat at the hands of middleweight veteran Derek Brunson. Having been largely dominated for two rounds, the Liverpudlian was submitted via rear-naked choke in the third.

Having taken time to recover from a knee injury that he entered UFC Vegas 36 with, Till will look to bounce back by halting the charge of Du Plessis at UFC 282providing an apparent eye issue doesn’t affect his return plans.

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