UFC 228 will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas this Saturday, September 8. The card will be headlined by welterweights (C) Tyron Woodley and (#2) welterweight contender, Darren Till. The co-main event was scheduled to host a title fight between (C) Nicco Montaño and -550 favorite, (#1) Valentina Shevchenko but due to an illness during the weight cut, Montaño was rushed to the hospital and is off of the card. The co-main event will now be (#2) Jessica Andrade vs. (#4) Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
(C) Tyron Woodley vs. (#2) Darren Till
Tyron Woodley has quietly built a case to be one of the greatest welterweights of all time. His resume is extremely impressive. Not familiar? Allow me to remind you. He holds wins over Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler, Kelvin Gastelum, and Carlos Condit. We could go on but the fact is he is definitely deserving of being a part of the conversation.
Woodley is known for his outstanding power and wrestling but what sets him apart is his fight I.Q., which is often overlooked. He does not mind losing a round or two while relying on fight changing moments with his right hand and key takedowns. In his last three bouts, Woodley has built a reputation of staying on his back foot, rarely pressing forward, but relying on his overhand right.
Darren Till is a hard guy not to love. When he first burst onto the scene, we were all a bit thrown off by his attitude, until we found who the real Till is. He is young, hungry, undefeated, confident, and refreshingly honest. There are a thousand adjectives we can use to describe the Liverpool native but only one to describe his career thus far. Dominant. Till is 17-0-1 in his professional career and 5-0-1 in the UFC. With notable victories over Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson, Till has displayed that he is here to stay.
We have not seen Till face much adversity in the octagon. This will be tested in this bout with Woodley’s extensive skill set. Till has the intelligence to fight to perfect fight. Against Wonderboy, he didn’t run into any crafty strikes and against Cowboy, he went forward and early, a place where Cerrone struggles. Win or lose here, Till is in the UFC to stay and is a betting man’s dream to become a world champion.
Prediction: Till via Decision
Till is a pressure fighter and Woodley stays on his back foot. The pressure will be enough to sway the judges, and new.
(#2) Jessica Andrade vs. (#4) Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Jessica Andrade is a -500 favorite to win this fight and the odds are difficult to debate. Andrade is a dominant wrestler and very difficult to finish. The strawweight contender is coming off of 2 straight wins and is looking to get back to a title shot. The game plan is simple for this fight, press forward and wrestle.
Karolina is a +350 underdog but she has the potential to upset many in this bout. She is also riding a two fight winning streak and holds the last victory over current champion, Rose Namajunas. Karolina will look to stay on the outside and use her counter punching to out point Andrade.
Prediction: Andrade via decision
Karolina has incredible striking but the pressure and wrestling from Andrade will simply be too much.
(#15) Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Brandon Davis
Let me be completely honest here. Zabit is the next serious contender in this division. That is not a knock on Davis, but I really do believe Zabit will be a world champion and very soon. While Zabit is great everywhere the fight takes him, Davis has a chance to shock the MMA community in this fight.
Prediction: Zabit via KO/TKO
UFC 228 sells no more than 250,000-300,000 PPVs.
The Rest of the Card:
Jimmie Rivera vs. John Dodson: Rivera via Decision
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Niko Price: Alhassan via KO/TKO
Carla Esparza vs. Tatiana Suaraez: Suarez via Decision
Aljamain Sterling vs. Cody Stamann: Stamann via Decision
Geoff Neal vs. Frank Camacho: Neal via KO/TKO
Charles Byrd vs. Darren Stewart: Stewart via KO/TKO
Roberto Sanchez vs. Jarred Brooks: Brooks via Decision
Irene Aldana vs. Lucie Pudilova: Aldana via Decision
Jim Miller vs. Alex White: White via KO/TKO
Diego Sanchez vs. Craig White: White via KO/TKO