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One-time welterweight title challenger Darren Till is officially moving up to the middleweight division.
Till (17-2-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) will meet Kelvin Gastelum (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) at UFC 244, which takes place Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York. MMA Junkie confirmed the booking with a person with knowledge of the fight. The person asked to remain anonymous because the UFC has not made an official announcement, though the matchup first was reported by UFC broadcast partner ESPN.
Till repeatedly has hedged on moving up to 185 pounds. Even after a lopsided loss to now-former champ Tyron Woodley, he left open the possibility of fighting at welterweight, where he’s undergone several brutal weight cuts that attracted the attention of regulators.
As recently as last October, Till said he was likely done fighting at 170 pounds. But he gave the division another try in a matchup against veteran Jorge Masvidal. After a brutal knockout loss, Till said he would “probably” be moving up.
For Gastelum, fighting at 185 pounds is a necessary career choice. He was ordered to move up in weight after his third miss on the scales at welterweight.
As it turned out, the move was a positive step for his career. He knocked out ex-champ Michael Bisping and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza to earn a shot at the interim title opposite Israel Adesanya.
In a gutsy performance, Gastelum went toe to toe with Adesanya and was nearly knocked out several times. He lost a unanimous decision in what might be the “Fight of the Year.”
Recently, Souza angled for a rematch with Gastelum at UFC 244, but Till won the day.
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