UFC Fight Night 147 Betting Preview: Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal Face Off in London

UFC Fight Night 147 Betting Preview: Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal Face Off in London article feature image

UFC Fight Night 147 betting odds: Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal

  • Darren Till -250
  • Jorge Masvidal +200
  • Channel: ESPN+
  • Time: Approx. 6:30 p.m. ET

Coming off a failed title bid against then-UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley, No.3 welterweight Darren Till looks to get back in the win column against veteran No. 11 Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night 147. The UFC still has confidence in Till, as they’ve booked him to headline this card in his native England.

Till (17-1-1) is a sizable favorite over Masvidal (32-13), but the fight may be closer than the odds appear.

How Till Can Win

A highly-touted prospect, Darren Till was 5-0-1 in the UFC prior to his loss to Woodley last September. Standing at 6-foot-0 and possessing a 74-inch reach, Till has a massive frame for the welterweight division.

The English fighter utilizes his long frame and southpaw stance to out-strike opponents on the feet. Till favors a counter-pressure fighting style, similar to Conor McGregor. Till’s footwork is designed to push his opponents backwards to the fence and make them panic. Rather than attack his retreating opponent, Till prefers to elicit reactions from them; these reactions create openings for Till. The more panic-induced an opponent’s reaction, the better it is for Till.

Till’s weapon of choice to capitalize on his opponent’s defensive openings is the straight left hand. Most of Till’s other strikes are diversions, designed to elicit openings for the left hand. He makes excellent use of elbows in the clinch and has scored a knockdown or knockout in 80% (4/5) of his UFC wins.

Against Masvidal, Till’s game plan on the feet should be more of the same. Expect him to try and walk Masvidal down, throwing the left every chance he gets. Till has demonstrated remarkable toughness in his MMA career — he’s only been knocked down once and has never been knocked out.

Masvidal does not have single-shot knockout power to make Till reticent on the feet and against Stephen Thompson, Masvidal showed he is there to be hit against a long, patient striker.

As far as Till is concerned, the less grappling involved the better. Till has demonstrated impressive ground and pound — particularly via elbows — but doesn’t have a reliable takedown game. He typically finds himself in top position via caught kicks or after hurting his opponent on the feet.

Defensively, Till has demonstrated impressive takedown defense (86%) but has looked his absolute worst when in bottom position. The two worst rounds of Till’s UFC career occurred when Till found himself trapped in bottom position:

  • Tyron Woodley out-struck Till 58-0 and submitted him in the second round of their fight
  • Nicholas Dalby out-struck Till 78-9 and landed two takedowns in the third round of their fight

If Till can keep the fight standing, he has the tools to maintain range and out-strike Masvidal.

How Masvidal Can Win

A veteran of Sengoku, Bellator, Strikeforce and the UFC (among others), 34-year-old Masvidal has had 45 fights in a career dating back to 2003. “Gamebred” has developed a well-rounded skillset over that time, accumulating:

  • 13 wins by knockout
  • 2 wins by submission
  • 17 wins by decision

Masvidal’s game is defined by his ability to fight anywhere and his defensive mentality:

  • Out-lands his opponent by 1.19 significant strikes/minute.
  • Successfully defends 67% of significant strikes.
  • Successfully defends 78% of takedowns.
  • Has only been finished in 7% (3/45) of his fights.

He prefers to fight at kickboxing range. He has an impressive jab, slick counters, and has a toolbox full of veteran tricks and techniques.

The Miami, Florida-based Masvidal is willing to take the fight to the ground if he thinks that is his best path to victory. Masvidal is capable of finishing fighters where they’re typically strongest:

  • Donald Cerrone has the most knockdowns in UFC history (18). Masvidal knocked Cerrone down twice and finished him via punches.
  • James Krause lands 4.57 significant strikes per minute. Masvidal out-landed Krause 69-58 and won via unanimous decision.
  • Michael Chiesa has won 73% (11/15) of his fights by submission. Masvidal submitted Chiesa via D’arce choke.

Against Till, Masvidal will again need to come in with a strategy tailored to his opponent. Masvidal would do best to switch up between attacking Till where the English fighter is strongest (on the feet) and attempting to take the fight to the ground. This will allow Masvidal to create clear moments of separation between himself and Till in the eyes of the judges without becoming too one-dimensional.

The X-Factor: Close Rounds

Both fighters have displayed a dangerous lack of initiative in previous fights.

Till’s style is effective when his opponent reacts to his pressure footwork. Against an opponent that is patient and refuses to take the lead (Stephen Thompson), Till had his worst winning performance in the UFC:

  • Till landed 1.52 significant strikers per minute (36% below his average).
  • Till landed 30% of significant strikes attempted (33% below his average).

Till also tends to let his opponent off the hook after hurting them. Nicolas Dalby, Jessin Ayari, Bojan Velickovic, and Stephen Thompson were all hurt/dropped by Till, but none of them were finished. Till only has two stoppage wins in the UFC (Donald Cerrone, Wendell Oliveira).

Masvidal is notorious for his tendency to fight not to lose. He is often in incredibly competitive bouts that can go either way and is comfortable letting fights play out.

  • 66% (4/6) of Masvidal’s last six fights to go to decision have been split decision.

Till and Masvidal both have a history of fighting in razor-close rounds. An inability to clearly win rounds is a red flag when betting on a fighter. With this being a worry for both men, there’s a good chance fans will be upset if this fight goes to decision regardless of who wins.

Current and Past Odds

Suffering his first defeat hasn’t shaken oddsmaker’s faith in Darren Till, as he enters the bout as the widest favorite he’s been since May 2017. Masvidal is the underdog for the fourth time in a row. This is the widest underdog Masvidal has been in the UFC.

Prediction

Trusting either man straight up is a daunting task. Till has the best offensive weapon in this fight — his straight left — but Masvidal is extremely durable and much less accomplished opponents have survived Till’s power. Till is also relatively untested for being such a wide favorite.

Masvidal is the more well-rounded of the two men but has given too many close fights away for me to be confident in backing him, though his odds are tempting.

What can be taken advantage of is that both men’s flaws tend to prolong the fight.

  • 57% (4/7) of Darren Till’s UFC fights have gone to decision
  • Till has gone to decision in four of his last six
  • 73% (11/15) of Masvidal’s UFC fights have gone to decision
  • Masvidal has gone to decision in four of his last six

Considering the proclivity of both men for close fights and the fact that Till will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd, I don’t feel comfortable if this goes to the judges. However, I do feel confident that we will get there.

The Pick: Fight goes to decision -130

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