Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strikers Darren Till and Dricus du Plessis will go to war this weekend (Sat., Dec. 10, 2022) at UFC 282 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s no secret that times have been tough for Till. The English talent hoped that a Middleweight move would revive his career, but he’s lost two of three at 185 pounds, looking out-of-shape and flat in his last outing against Derek Brunson. He’s now in dire need of a win, otherwise his title dreams will fully kick the bucket. Du Plessis, meanwhile, is chaos. The former KSW champion has stormed out of the gates to win three straight UFC fights, proving that his combination of physicality, aggression, and unorthodox offense is a nasty threat even at the highest level. He’s a lot of fun to watch, and now we’ll find out if “Stillknocks” is a real player in the title picture.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Kelvin Gastelum (UFC 244), Stephen Thompson (UFC Fight Night 130), Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 118), Bojan Velickovic (UFC Fight Night 115)
Key Losses: Derek Brunson (UFC Vegas 36), Tyron Woodley (UFC 228), Robert Whittaker (UFC on ESPN 14), Jorge Masvidal (UFC Fight Night 147)
Keys to Victory: Recently, there has been a shift against Till, a sentiment that he was never any good and was only a hype job. Even with his recent struggles, it’s important to remember that mediocre strikers do not go toe-to-toe in razor thin contests with men like Robert Whittaker and Stephen Thompson.
“The Gorilla” is a talent, even if he has yet to live up to his potential.
There is opportunity and danger in this match up. Till is a sniper, and du Plessis is wildly aggressive. There will surely be opportunities for Till to interrupt du Plessis’ bursts with his vaunted left hand, but that’s a risky proposition. If Till misses or his timing is off by smidge, du Plessis will keep swarming, shifting stances and swinging kill shots.
Till is not unhittable by any means, and Masvidal demonstrated how sneaky shifts can catch him off-guard. To avoid getting blasted while looking for his counters, I’d like to see more footwork from Till. If he’s especially patient and frustrating, du Plessis’ pathological aggression will lead to larger, safer openings as du Plessis tries to force the brawl.
Dricus du Plessis
Key Wins: Roberto Soldic (KSW 43), Brad Tavares (UFC 276), Trevin Giles (UFC 264), Markus Perez (UFC Fight Island 5)
Key Losses: Roberto Soldic (KSW 45)
Keys to Victory: I like du Plessis’ style a lot. He’s got durability, power, a deep gas tank, creativity — all the elements necessary to attack wildly in a similar philosophical approach to someone like Jiri Prochazka. Sure, du Plessis leaves openings while attacking, but does that matter if he can take the shots and his opponent cannot stand up to his assault?
Sometimes, offense really is the best defense, especially in MMA, where points on the board equate to physical pain and a dulling of the senses. Obviously, du Plessis doesn’t want to get sparked in the process of working his offense, but just because Till throws straighter shots does not mean he’s the better striker.
To get the better of these exchanges, du Plessis has to remain unpredictable. He has to feint constantly to dull the timing of Till’s counter shots. Stance shifts are great too, but du Plessis would be best advised to either gain an angle or force Till to break his stance before really unleashing his combinations.
Darren Till’s back is to the wall.
Till is a popular fighter, but popularity only goes so far. It’s been a long time since “The Gorilla” won a fight, and longer still since he really impressed in the process. None of that is to say Till is no good, but if he’s to remain a highly-ranked Middleweight generally considered as a player in the title picture, he simply has to turn away du Plessis. Otherwise, it’s a long, long road back to the top.
As for du Plessis, he’s not yet a known name among the average UFC fan. This is a chance to break into the rankings and public consciousness in a single victory. Defeating Till still means something, and given his previous win streak, victory this weekend should prove that du Plessis is a threat to even the elite at 185 pounds.
At UFC 282, Darren Till and Dricus du Plessis will square off. Which man will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 282 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPN2/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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