UFC FIGHT NIGHT ON ESPN®: WHITTAKER vs TILL takes place tonight as the final of the UFC FIGHT ISLAND series.
The event takes place on Saturday the 25th of July at Flash Forum on Abu-Dhabi’s Yas Island.
The preliminary bouts will be live from 5PM ET and will be available on ESPN, or if you are based in the UK, the prelims will kick off around 10PM BST and will be available on BT Sport.
The main card is set to begin at 8PM ET and will be available on ESPN, or if you are based in the UK, it will kick off around 1AM BST and will be available on BT Sport.
Tonight’s UFC fight night card sees two of the UFC’s middleweight titans clash, as the No. 1 ranked Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker (21-5) meets the No. 5 ranked Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till (18-2-1).
The winner of tonight’s event will be sure to place themselves in the No.1 contenders spot to face the winner of the current champion, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, versus the challenger, Paulo ‘Borrachinha’ Costa.
Last time out, Whittaker lost his middleweight title, after he suffered a second round KO loss to Adesanya. However, prior to that fight he was riding a nine-fight win streak.
The New-Zealand born Australian mixed martial artist is looking to get a win over one of the UFC’s most talented prospects and, should he be victorious, he will be demanding a rematch for the middleweight title.
Whittaker has been known for his tough endurance over the last few years and for his dangerous weapons on the feet.
He will be looking to utilise his striking skills and power against Till, whose last loss came to Jorge Masvidal via knockout at UFC London in March 2019.
Till is one of the UFC’s most highly rated UK fighters, and the Liverpool man has certainly made a statement for himself in the middleweight division, when he gained a unanimous decision victory over the former title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum, in his middleweight debut.
Till trains out of Team Kaobon in Liverpool and made a name for himself when he dominated his way through the UFC welterweight division between 2015 and 2019.
After suffering a devastating KO loss to Masvidal at UFC London, Till and his team made the decision to move up a weight class and try his chances at UFC gold in the middleweight division.
This was a move that many had called for before his two consecutive losses due to the condition of Till after his draining weight cuts at 170lbs.
The move appears to have certainly paid off, as he looks to be just one-fight away from the title at 185lbs.
Coming up against the former champion and the No.1 ranked contender in the world will certainly carry some weight on Till’s shoulders.
However, if Whittaker’s last fight is anything to go by, Till will be confident he can implement his game plan to get the victory over the former champ.
Whittaker’s KO loss to Adesanya showed that he struggled against a man who was much taller than him and had a background in kickboxing.
Tonight’s fight will be all too familiar for ‘Bobby Knuckles’, as Till also comes in the taller man and has an incredible resume in kickboxing and Muay Thai bouts.
In a fight where two top-level strikers will be sure to trade in the centre of the octagon, this is one main event you do not want to miss.
In tonight’s co-main event, two legends of the sport clash, as Maurício ‘Shogun’ Rua (26-11) comes up against Antônio Rogério Nogueira (23-9) for the third time in their career.
Tonight’s co-main will be the trilogy between this two, with their first fight coming way back in 2005, and their second bout coming in 2015.
Rua is the former UFC light heavyweight champion and looks to make in three in a row against his opponent, as in their past two fights, he won both by unanimous decision.
Rua is coming off a draw to Scotland’s Paul Craig and a win over the highly rated Australian talent, Tyson Pedro.
Tonight, he will be looking to get a dominant victory over his fellow pioneer of the sport and prove that he can still cut it at the top-level of fighting.
Nogueira is a name that you cannot forget in the sport, as he and his twin brother Rodrigo, have been prominent figures of the UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions for decades.
Nogueira is coming off a KO loss to Ryan Spann back in May 2019. However, prior to that he gained a well-earned Performance of the Night bonus, when he defeated Sam Alvey via TKO in September 2018.
He will be looking to get one back against Rua and looks to ensure that ‘Shogun’ cannot get a trio of victories over him.
In our final bout to cover, we see two more legends of the sport clash, when Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson (18-6) makes his UFC heavyweight debut again the former heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum (23-8).
Gustafsson left tears in many MMA fans eyes, when he announced his retirement from the sport after his loss to Anthony Smith back in June, 2019.
After nearly a year out, the fan-favourite has announced his return to the UFC, moving up a weight class, making his way into the heavyweight division.
Gustafsson has never held UFC gold. However, he has competed for the light heavyweight title a total of three times.
The Swedish mixed martial artist has been known for his skills all-around the octagon and his light on the feet stance.
His name will go down in the history books, after producing four Fight of the Night bonuses in bouts with Jimi Manuwa, Glover Teixeira, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.
Tonight he will look to get another POTN bonus and show off his skills against the No.14 ranked, former heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Werdum made his return to the sport after a two-year suspension, when he fought another submission specialist in Aleksei Oleinik.
Despite losing this bout, Werdum still showed he can grapple at the highest level and he will be looking to utilise this against Gustafsson tonight, whose last loss came via Rear Naked Choke.
All eyes will be on Gustafsson in this bout, and Werdum will be looking to steal some of that spotlight to prove that he still deserves a shot in the biggest promotion of them all.
Make sure to tune in to tonight card and check out our team at WHOA TV’s fight predictions for the main card above. Below we have attached a blank card for you to make your own picks via our brand new ‘WHOA TV Fans Picks’ template.