Darren Till looks the part of a future Ultimate Fighting Championship contender. His next test could reveal whether or not he is fit for primetime.
Till will lock horns with Jackson-Wink MMA mainstay Donald Cerrone in the UFC Fight Night 118 main event on Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, where an upset victory over “Cowboy” could launch the undefeated Brit into a much higher tax bracket, competitively speaking. Spawned by Team Kaobon in his native England and the Astra Fight Team in his adoptive Brazil, the 24-year-old enters his showdown with Cerrone on a the heels of back-to-back wins against Jessin Ayari and former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Bojan Velickovic. Till last fought at UFC Fight Night 115 on Sept. 2, when he outpointed Velickovic across three rounds in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The lone blemish on his resume remains a majority draw with Nicolas Dalby in 2015, during which he fought through a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery and kept him on the shelf for nearly two years.
Ahead of his critical five-round clash with Cerrone at 170 pounds, here are some of the numbers that have come to define Till:
0: Defeats on his resume. Till is one of 34 unbeaten fighters on the active Ultimate Fighting Championship roster with at least one victory inside the Octagon.
2: Successful takedowns recorded against him, per FightMetric. Only Dalby managed to drag Till to the canvas, having done so twice in their 15-minute encounter. The other three fighters Till has faced in the UFC have gone a combined 0-for-11 against him.
4: Opponents Till has stopped inside one round. His list of victims: Junior Dietz, Paulo Batista, Cristiano Marquesotti and Deivid Caubiack.
5: Countries in which he has competed as a professional mixed martial artist. They are the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Brazil and Argentina. Poland will be the sixth.
9: Wins by knockout or technical knockout. Knees and punches have been Till’s weapons of choice.
11: Finishes to his credit. In addition to his nine victories by knockout or technical knockout, Till has posted two others by submission: He tapped Marquesotti with an inverted triangle choke in November 2013 and disposed of Sergio Matias with a toe hold a little more than a year later.
13: Takedowns Till has successfully defended in UFC competition. Only Dalby has managed to put “The Gorilla” on the ground, having done so twice. Till’s other three opponents went a combined 0-for-11 on takedowns.
24: Years of age at the time of his fight with Cerrone, making Till one of the youngest welterweights on the active UFC roster. He turns 25 on Christmas Eve.
64: Percentage of total strikes he has dodged inside the Octagon. The UFC average is 58 percent.
87: Total strikes by which Till has been outlanded in his four UFC appearances. In fact, he has been outstruck statistically in all but one -- he landed 26 strikes to Wendell de Oliveira Marques’ 24 at UFC Fight Night 67 -- of his bouts inside the Octagon.