<
>

UFC up-and-comer Darren Till earns decision win vs. Stephen Thompson

play
Till beats Thompson by decision (0:32)

In a close decision, Darren Till defeats Stephen Thompson in front of his home Liverpool crowd to improve to 17-0-1. (0:32)

Welterweight standout Darren Till, one of the UFC's most exciting up-and-comers, defeated two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision on Sunday.

Till (17-0-1) headlined UFC Fight Night at Echo Arena in his hometown of Liverpool, England. The UFC is so high on the 25-year-old's potential, it moved the event from its originally scheduled location in Dublin.

The five-round main event played out like a chess match, as both welterweights fought cautiously at times. Till scored the hardest shot of the bout, a left hand that dropped Thompson (14-3-1) momentarily in the fifth.

All three judges scored it for Till: 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47. ESPN actually had it for Thompson, 48-47.

"I played games, I know Stephen Thompson thinks I'm an aggressive fighter -- and I am. But I'm also calm and collected," Till said.

According to Fightmetric, Till out-landed Thompson in total strikes 40-to-31. Many of those were heavy, low leg kicks, aimed to limit the mobility of Thompson.

Thompson, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, used the perimeter of the cage and forced Till to give chase throughout the bout. He scored several hard right hand counters and side kicks, while avoiding the clinch. He never appeared to hurt Till, however. Till repeatedly shook his head and continued to march forward, even after Thompson landed.

It was a terrific result for Till, who came under fire on Saturday when he missed weight by 3.5 pounds. The UFC and Thompson's camp actually forced Till to weigh in again on Sunday, prior to the fight. Till had to weigh no more than 188 pounds at the second weigh-in, which is an uncommon stipulation.

It appeared to have no ill effect on Till, however, as he still had plenty left in the tank at the end of the five-round bout. He started to figure out Thompson's movement near the end, locating him with the double jab and overhand left.

"In all my life of fighting, I've been fighting since I was 13, I've never fought a style like that," Till said. "I had to use every part of my brain to figure him out and I still couldn't."

It is Till's fifth win in the UFC. Thompson falls to 1-2-1 in his past five bouts.

Magny defeats late replacement opponent, calls for Usman

Welterweight Neil Magny (21-6) picked up his 14th win in the UFC, as he finished promotional newcomer Craig White (14-8) via TKO at 4:32 of the first round.

Fighting out of Denver, Magny was supposed to fight Gunnar Nelson on the card, but Nelson was forced off with injury. White, of England, agreed to take his place on short notice.

It was a workman's like finish for Magny. He jostled with White in the clinch up against the fence, before eventually hurting him with a knee to the head and follow-up strikes on the ground. Following the bout, Magny thanked White for filling in and giving him the opportunity to get a paycheck, of which he donated $15,000 to a girl battling spinal muscular atrophy.

"That's the fight game," said Magny, on the opponent change. "I just have to stay in the gym, listen to my coaches and make it happen when the call comes."

When asked who he'd like to face next, Magny, 30, called out welterweight contender Kamaru Usman (13-1).

Amirkhani survives knockdowns, edges Knight

Finnish featherweight Makwan Amirkhani (14-3) defeated Jason Knight (20-5) via split decision, despite suffering two knockdowns in the opening round.

Two judges scored the 145-pound contest 29-28 for Amirkhani. A third saw it very different: 30-27 for Knight. ESPN also scored it 29-28, Amirkhani.

Amirkhani, 29, looked very comfortable early, as he timed Knight coming in with counter strikes. He began taunting Knight, especially after he opened a facial cut with punches.

Knight, of Mississippi, responded late in the first round, dropping Amirkhani with a right uppercut and straight right moments later. He also threatened with a triangle choke. Amirkhani would rely heavily on his wrestling the rest of the way, to edge out a split decision.

After the bout, Amirkhani, who hadn't fought in more than a year, called for a bout against Cub Swanson.