Till (18-4-1) saw his welterweight run end with back-to-back defeats in 2018, prompting a move up to middleweight in an attempt to kickstart his UFC career and avoid the weight-cutting issues that had been plaguing him.
A narrow decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in his debut at 185lbs was followed by a points loss to former divisional champion Robert Whittaker last summer, with Saturday’s submission defeat by Brunson meaning Till has just one victory from his last five bouts.
The 28-year-old striker looked sharp as ever on the feet, but his American opponent predictably pursued takedowns, which he secured in all three of the five rounds that a small group of fans got to witness in the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas.
Brunson, 37, controlled Till on the mat for the majority of the first two rounds, landing heavy strikes from above, including slicing elbows. His takedown in the third round almost came out of desperation, however, after he appeared to be stunned by Till’s punches, which followed effective knees to the body.
In any case, Brunson’s instinctive takedown rapidly gave way to the American slipping into mount position, before he took Till’s back and locked in a rear naked choke. The abrupt finishing sequence ended with Till promptly tapping out to the hold, as Brunson (23-7) earned a fifth straight win in his last push for a middleweight title shot.
The 37-year-old was knocked out by current champion Israel Adesanya in 2018, as ‘The Last Stylebender’ stormed towards middleweight gold.