13 Mar - 
UFC on ESPN+ 5 breakdown: How Jorge Masvidal upsets Darren Till

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main event for UFC on ESPN+ 5.

UFC on ESPN+ 5 takes place Saturday at The O2 in London. The card streams on ESPN+.

Darren Till (17-1-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC)

Darren Till at UFC 228.

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 26 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Submission loss to Tyron Woodley (Sept. 8, 2018)
  • Camp: Team Kaobon (Liverpool, Eng.)
  • Stance/striking style: Southpaw/muay Thai
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:

+ K-1 European title
+ Luta Livre purple belt
+ Thai boxing experience
+ 10 KO victories
+ 2 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Good feints and footwork
+ Accurate left hand
^ Coming forward or off the counter
+ Hard Thai kicks
^ Works well to the body
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Dangerous elbows and knees
+ Serviceable grappling ability

Jorge Masvidal (32-13 MMA, 9-6 UFC)

Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217.

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 34 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 74″
  • Last fight: Decision loss to Stephen Thompson(Nov. 4, 2017)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:

+ AFC welterweight title
+ Undefeated in the streets
+ 13 KO victories
+ 2 submission wins
+ 7 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Slick boxing technique
^ Accurate shot selection
+ Improved kicking game
+ Solid balance and footwork
+ Active transition and clinch game
^ Strikes well off of the breaks
+ Excellent wrestling ability
+ Underrated submission acumen
+/- 5-2 against UFC level southpaws

Point of interest: Strikers delight

The main event in London features a fun pairing of two welterweights who aren’t short of swagger in the striking department.

Initially stepping into MMA from the backyard brawling scene, Jorge Masvidal has turned into one of the savvier strikers among his contemporaries, operating with the comfort of a longtime veteran. Feinting forward and initiating with his jab, Masvidal has always had a knack for pulling and returning punches with his opponents.

At lightweight, the Cuban’s style and available output had him arguably too comfortable at times, costing him crucial rounds in close fights – fights that many thought he had won. That said, we have seen a different iteration of Masvidal since his ascension up the welterweight division.

Now, pursuing much more aggressively, Masvidal will mix in his improved kicks off of Thai-style marches. Working well off of his patented left hand, the 16-year vet controls the center line with authority, varying between straight shots to the head or hooks to the body.

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Masvidal, who seldom extends himself too far out of position, can be hard to hit cleanly more often than not. However, his comfort in exchanges has shown to cost him both blitzes and counters at times, which means he will need to be extra careful considering his current counterpart.

Enter Darren Till.

Till, who embodies an authentic muay Thai spirit, mixes in a brand of southpaw swagger that is uniquely his own. Despite the bravado that the Englishman exudes, Till smartly works behind subtle feints and solid footwork while creating angles that allow him to capitalize and counter on his opponent’s reactions.

Favoring his crafty left cross, Till possesses a pull-counter that is slightly akin to Conor McGregor’s, typically stunning his opposition when landing it cleanly. The 26-year-old also throws left Thai kicks that tend to flow off of his left-handed threats, but he could get more than he bargains for should he throw them nakedly (without setup) against Masvidal, who – like Till – will also use those opportunities to counter.

That said, I do suspect we may see more weapons brought to the table from Till this time around. Admittedly fighting through injuries during the main stretch of his UFC career, Till seemed to limit himself to just a few choice weapons.

Nevertheless, the Englishman has opened up in more recent efforts, whether it be by showing moves like oblique kicks or staying much more active with his right hand. Against a slick vet like Masvidal, Till likely will have all his tools on display.

Next point of interest: Potential grappling threats