UFC president Dana White and the rest of the promotional brass probably wasn’t expecting Jorge Masvidal to knock out England’s favorite son Darren Till in the main event of UFC London, but the Cuban-American wasn’t messing around. “Gamebred” played spoiler in the main event of UFC Fight Night 147 when he survived an early first-round knockdown to storm back in the second and brutally finished Till with punches for the biggest win of his career to date. The UFC was banking on Till winning this fight and re-emerging as a top welterweight title contender after a lopsided loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 228, but Masvidal made sure that wasn’t happening as he leveled Till and finished him.
For Till, the loss means he’s no longer part of the welterweight title picture. Had he beaten Masvidal, the UFC could have easily thrown him immediately back into the title mix, especially with Woodley having recently lost to Kamaru Usman. With the loss, though, Till is nowhere near fighting for the belt at 170lbs. He’s so far back in the title queue now that it’s probably time for him to finally make the move up to middleweight. At this point, he’s arguably lost three straight fights at welterweight if you include his controversial decision win over Stephen Thompson, and even though the UFC wanted Till to be England’s next Michael Bisping, at this point he needs to rebuild his stock.
As for Masvidal, the win over Till is huge for him and will surely set him up for a massive fight his next time out. Ben Askren, who recently submitted Robbie Lawler at UFC 235, is very interested in fighting Masvidal, but it seems like the American Top Team product wants to fight Leon Edwards, as he got into a backstage brawl with him following UFC Fight Night 147. Edwards picked up a huge win over Gunnar Nelson in the co-main event and a fight against Masvidal makes a lot of sense. Whether it’s Askren or Edwards, it’s clear Masvidal is going to be involved in a grudge match his next time out. And if he can win that fight, he won’t be far from fighting for the welterweight title himself.
But what Masvidal’s KO win over Till does especially is it opens up the welterweight division for brand new contenders to break through and fight for the belt. With Woodley and Till out of the title picture, the division is wide open now for the next title shot after Usman fights Colby Covington. Masvidal, of course, is at the top of the list after his emphatic win over Till. Edwards with his seven-fight win streak is one such fighter, and so is another fighter on a seven-fight win streak in Santiago Ponzinibbio. Askren, of course, isn’t far away from a title shot either. Vicente Luque is another guy who deserves a big fight and now he won’t be far from the title picture, and neither will Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. All of these fighters have more impressive resumes than Till, and with him out of the title hunt now they will have a chance to get closer to that elusive spot.
It’s never fun seeing someone get knocked out cold and embarrassed in front of his home country, but Till’s loss to Masvidal is a good thing for the rest of the UFC welterweight division. Till’s had his chance as a welterweight contender and the UFC gave him every opportunity to shine but he’s proven in his last couple of fights that he’s just not at that championship level. The loss gives him a second chance to move up to middleweight and make another title run there. But most of all it gives the horde of welterweight contenders waiting in the wings a chance to prove that they’re worthy of being in the limelight, and though it may not have seemed like it at first glance, perhaps Till losing was the best possible outcomes, all things considered.