UFC Abu Dhabi: Whittaker wins pulsating contest in Fight Island's final act

Robert Whittaker of New Zealand punches Darren Till of England in their middleweight championship fight. (AFP)
Robert Whittaker of New Zealand punches Darren Till of England in their middleweight championship fight. (AFP)

Abu Dhabi - Darren Till, who might need a knee surgery, was keen on a rematch



By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sun 26 Jul 2020, 8:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Jul 2020, 11:42 PM

An action-packed 15-bout thriller marked the end of the UFC Fight Island events in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The final act of the four-series mixed martial arts showpiece event saw former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker batter Darren Till. 
Both the fighters described the 48-47 verdict encounter as 'stressful', 'technical' and like a 'chess match'.
"I got a bit antsy in the first round and he made me pay for it. But I got back up. It was just a chess match from then on. He was waiting for me to come in. I was waiting for him to come in," Whittaker, the former middleweight champion, told reporters at the Flash Forum.

"I think the second round was definitely mine; third round, fourth round could have gone either way. But I think I showed my championship-level mentality and experience in that last round, especially when it was so close in the hands on the stand-up game. Then to finish it off taking him down was a big boom in the scorecards for me," the 29-year-old said.
Darren Till, who might need a knee surgery, was keen on a rematch.
"This is probably one of the toughest fights I have ever been in. It was mentally stressful like a chess match. It was probably two-two going into the fifth. I have shown that I am right up there. If he doesn't get a title shot then I would love to go to New Zealand and fight Rob," said the 27-year-old.
In the co-main event, emotions were running high as the 44-year-old Antonio Nogueira failed to end his career with a win over Mauricio in his third attempt.
Nogueira reiterated he had fought his last bout inside the ring.
"I tried my best. I think at 44 years old, this will be my last fight. Now it's the time for the new generation to come," Nogueira added.
Rua says the three wins over Nogueira (2005, 2015 and 2020) is an important chapter of his career.
"I came here for one more war. He is a legend and I respect him a lot. I was curious how this fight would unfold. And he fought aggressively. Thankfully I was able to withstand his punches and pressure," the 38-year-old Rua said.
Meanwhile, Fabricio Werdum, Paul Craig, Khamzat Chimaev, Tanner Boser, Jesse Ronson and Tom Aspinall won the Performance of the Night bonus.


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