Tyron Woodley’s Coach Breaks Down Winning UFC 228 Strategy

Tyron Woodley says
Image Credit: Getty Images

People are still talking about the brilliant performance that UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley put on in his latest title defense.

As seen in the main event of the UFC 228 pay-per-view event on Saturday, September 8, 2018 in Dallas, Texas at the American Airlines Center, Woodley was able to score a second-round submission victory over Till to retain his title.

One of the coaches of the welterweight champion, Din Thomas, recently stated in an interview that the gameplan of Woodley’s success in this fight started with early aggression against the rising prospect.

“I don’t think anybody expected that,” Thomas explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “This is what I’m saying, we’ve prepared Tyron to do that in some other fights and it just didn’t work out. But when you put that pressure on Darren, I don’t think he expected that. You expect Tyron to back up and wait, wait, and wait, so we said we really need to get in his face and make Darren Till work. We knew he cut a lot of weight, we knew he wouldn’t be able to work for five rounds the way Tyron was prepared to work for five rounds. So we said, we need to get to him early, start creating angles and not allowing him to get that left hand off. So that’s exactly what Tyron did. He got in his face, took away the angle of the left hand, and everything worked out in our favor.”

Although most fight fans didn’t think Woodley submitting Till was a possibility, Thomas stated that this is how he thought Woodley would win at UFC 228 when they were planning for it.

“A lot of people don’t realize that Tyron trains in the gi as well, and even if he didn’t, his grappling is still up there with the best of them,” Thomas said. “I told him the other day, you know I do all the drilling with the guys, and prior to this camp with Tyron, the most vicious guy that I’ve drilled with is Antonio Carlos Junior, who’s a world champion in jiu-jitsu. Tyron felt worse than him as far as transitionally and his pressure and just his ability for control and finding submission. He felt worse than Antonio Carlos Junior.

“His jiu-jitsu ability, it exceeds black belt level. The reason why I gave [his black belt] to him is because he was supposed to get it a couple of years ago from Ricardo Liborio, but for whatever reason it never happened. I figured that it would be a good experience for him to actually get this if he wins on Saturday night, so I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to give him his belt if he wins.’ I knew he was going to submit him. I had no doubt in my mind that he would submit Darren Till. That wasn’t the submission I thought he would use, [I thought it would be a rear-naked choke,] but I knew he would submit him.”

Woodley is expected to make his next title defense against former interim champion Colby Covington at an event that has yet to be officially announced. Woodley wasn’t given a lengthy medical suspension so it’s possible that the Las Vegas-based promotion can book this fight either later this year or early 2019.