Sunday Column: Some Closing Thoughts On UFC Liverpool
The first ever UFC event in Liverpool was a hell of a bumpy ride and one I don’t think a lot of us will be forgetting any time soon.
The script was written months in advance of fight night and with UFC Dublin in 2014 a natural benchmark, expectations were high and with hindsight it was probably unfair to ever expect a repeat of the series of events like that night in Ireland.
If we compare the two events I think it’s fair to say that Dublin had consistently higher energy given all the wins for the local fighters. That said, the Liverpool fight card reached a peak similar to that of the night in Ireland when Till’s walkout song was sung from all corners of the stadium.
It was one of those moments you will simply never forget if you were there and it ultimately proved to be a catalyst for a big turn around for the crowd and the night itself for the people of Liverpool.
It’s definitely not my place to comment on the 72-hours endured by Till ahead of stepping in the Octagon, but I’m sure the truth will come out one day and it will only elevate opinion on what he achieved that night.
From the day of the weigh-ins, things just seemed to be going wrong for all the Liverpudlians involved and with the result of the Champions League the day before and Molly McCann’s loss earlier in the night, it just didn’t seem to be written in the stars that Till would go on to be victorious.
I’ve been to many a fight night over the last few years but never have I witnessed a walkout song influence a crowd like last night. “Sweet Caroline” is infamous throughout the sporting world for crowd participation and the people inside the Echo Arena needed no second invitation.
As the crowd bellowed the lyrics you could feel the release of tension, anxiety and negativity throughout the arena and the crowd were once again back in the game.
Till, beaming from ear-to-ear ,conducted an orchestra of Scousers for the next 25-minutes of the fight and with the crowd cheering every strike he landed like it was goal at Anfield or Goodison, I find very hard to believe it didn’t play factor on who eventually got their hand raised.
I’ll let the true fight analysts and experts breakdown the five rounds and give you their insight as to who they think won.
Ultimately, it was Till who got his hand raised this time though but I think it would be unwise to think that last night will be the last time these two share the Octagon.
I could write a book on the last few days given what happened at Bellator 200 and UFC Liverpool and who knows maybe one day that will happen.
I said seven days ago it would be a historic few days for UK MMA and although it might not have turned out like I thought it would, it was thoroughly enjoyable rollercoaster of emotions.
Fears, tears, blood, sweat and cheers — it was magic that no other sport in the world can replicate.
I’ve no idea what happens next, but that’s just the beauty of MMA isn’t it.
Behind the scenes footage of Darren Till’s UFC Liverpool fight week: