By News Team
23rd July 2020
The UFC action keeps on coming as Yas Island, Abu Dhabi plays host to the fourth televised card in 14 days for UFC Fight Night 174 on Saturday night.
This time former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker fights against in the main event against former welterweight title contender and Liverpool-born Darren Till.
Two UFC legends meet for a third time as former light heavyweight champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who recently announced this will be the final fight of his near two-decade long MMA career.
Former light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson is also in action, as he steps up to heavyweight for the first time to face veteran Fabricio Werdum.
Whittaker vs Till
After a nine-fight UFC winning streak that saw him crowned middleweight king, Robert Whittaker was dethroned by Israel Adesanya at UFC 243. Whittaker had spent time on the sidelines following emergency surgery, and didn’t quite look the same destructive force in the two rounds before Adesanya knocked him out with a picture-perfect counter left hand.
After some time away from training, he has looked much more reminiscent of the man who went 50 minutes with Yoel Romero and came out with the win both times during the build-up so far. He’ll have his hands full on Saturday night though, where he is 10/11 to triumph.
After a meteoric rise through the welterweight rankings, Darren Till, who is also 10/11 for victory on Saturday, hit a roadblock with back-to-back losses to Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal. After issues with making weight due to his sheer size, Till recently moved back up to middleweight and appears much more comfortable, impressing many with his win against Kelvin Gastelum in November.
Till is the number five ranked middleweight and with Whittaker ranked number one, both men will have a legitimate claim to a title fight if they can pick up the win.
Rua vs Nogueira
It’s hard to talk about the history of MMA and the UFC without talking about Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Their first bout was an incredible 15 years ago, and they put on quite a show with a back-and-forth battle that saw Rua walk away victorious.
The rematch came at UFC 170 back in 2015 and once again stole the show, with the fighters awarded the fight of night bonus. ‘Shogun’ would again get the decision though, and Nogueira will be looking to avenge those close losses in the final fight of his career on Saturday. Rua is the 8/15 favourite for victory, with Nogueira 6/4 to triumph.
Gustafsson vs Werdum
After a long-time UFC career in the light heavyweight division saw him fall just short of the title on two occasions against the legendary Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson had announced his retirement following his loss to Anthony Smith in June 2019. After some time away from the octagon, the Swede makes his return by moving up to heavyweight to face former champion Fabricio Werdum and is the 3/10 favourite for the win on Saturday.
Although Werdum’s powers look to be on the wane having lost his last three fights, he remains a very dangerous competitor, especially on the ground and is 5/2 for the victory. Both men look to be coming to the end of their long careers, but a win could give either of them the impetus needed to move through the rankings of a very competitive heavyweight division.