UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Till Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Gdansk, Poland.
Updated: Oct. 19, 2017 • 6:50 PM ET
Donald Cerrone (right) is looking to get back to his winning ways.
UFC Fight Night will return to Poland for the second time ever and the first time in Gdansk this Saturday. Fight Night 118 will feature a welterweight fight between former lightweight title challenger and fan favorite Donald Cerrone, and Darren Till.
Cerrone, the No. 6 ranked welterweight, made his UFC debut in 2011 at lightweight and immediately went on a four-fight win streak before losing to Nate Diaz at UFC 141. He went 3-2 after the loss to Diaz, but followed that stint with an eight-fight win streak that earned a title shot and rematch with champion Rafael Dos Anjos. Cerrone ultimately lost, for the second time to Dos Anjos, by TKO in the first round, resulting in his move up to 170 pounds.
After moving up, Cerrone won four straight fights until losing to Jorge Masvidal in January. He followed that bout with a decision loss to former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 214. It was a highly debated decision, as Cerrone landed more strikes and a takedown against Lawler in a great back-and-forth fight. Cerrone’s critics raised the question after the loss to Lawler: is the 34-year-old starting to decline?
Cerrone needs a win to stay relevant within a growing division. Dos Anjos has also moved up from lightweight and is on a win streak of his own. The Brazilian will fight Lawler in December and UFC president Dana White has stated that the winner will challenge champion Tyron Woodley for the title. A third consecutive loss for Cerrone on Saturday would send him tumbling down the welterweight rankings. It would also reassure his critics of his decline.
Till is a 24-year-old Englishman, who’s fighting in his first headliner against one of the busiest and most dangerous fighters over the past few years in Cerrone. Nevertheless, he confidently jumped at the challenge. Till verbally agreed to the fight while celebrating his victory over Bojan Velickovic in September.
“It’s just another guy in the welterweight division to go through,” Till told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani in September. “I don’t really care about his name. I just want to go in there and knock him out.”
Till is 3-0-1 in the UFC and 15-0-1 as a professional.
The co-main event this Saturday features a women’s strawweight fight between Poland’s Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jodie Esquibel. Kowalkiewicz, the No. 3 ranked strawweight, is riding a two-fight losing streak to Claudia Gadelha in June and champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 205. She’s 3-2 in the UFC, and a win would put her back on track to another shot at the title. She fought Jedrzejczyk well and was the first fighter to stun the champion inside the Octagon, but her loss to Gadelha by first round submission was a major setback.
Esquibel was 4-2 while fighting for Invicta FC and a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs. Team Cláudia. She was defeated by Ashley Yoder via split decision in the opening qualifying round of the television series. A win over a highly-ranked opponent would put her on the map in the UFC and certainly into the rankings.
Rest of the main card
Light Heavyweight fight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Devin Clark
Middleweight fight: Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Lightweight fight: Marcin Held vs. Nasrat Haqparast
Heavyweight fight: Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
Bantamweight fight: Damian Stasiak vs. Brian Kelleher
Middleweight fight: Trevor Smith vs. Ramazan Emeev
Featherweight fight: Artem Lobov vs. Andre Fili
Welterweight fight: Jimmy Wallhead vs. Warlley Alves
Women’s bantamweight fight: Lina Lansberg vs. Aspen Ladd
Featherweight fight: Felipe Arantes vs. Josh Emmett