The main event of UFC’s Fight Island III was a battle of endurance and technical prowess between Robert Whittaker and Darren Till.
Till started the fight by charging in, being met with a jab from Whittaker. Till then caught a kick from Whittaker, and the fighters took a few moments to feel each other out, throwing a few inconsequential strikes. Whittaker then charged Till, but was caught with an elbow and forced to his knees, with Till pressuring down on top of him and throwing a few punches as Whittaker scooped up a single-leg. Both fighters disengaged from the scuffle, and Till began pushing Whittaker to the outside of the Octagon, landing an elbow and kick in the process. Till pushed Whittaker against the cage, landing a few knees to Whittaker’s legs. Whittaker managed to get away, and both fighters kept their distance enough to stay safe as they each threw a few kicks and punches that grazed each other before the round ended.
Both fighters started round two with more aggression, and Till met the end of Whittaker’s strong left hook as he moved forward to attack. Till landed a few kicks to Whittaker’s legs, and Whittaker responded by charging forward and landing a series of strikes on Till, knocking him to the ground. Till managed to get Whittaker into closed guard, and Whittaker worked on throwing body strikes, landing a couple of solid strikes to Till’s head. Till opened his guard and Whittaker worked to pass, ending up in Till’s half-guard. Till ended up revealing his back as he worked to get out of danger, and Whittaker almost managed to take it, but Till worked his way back up to his feet and was able to disengage from his opponent. Both fighters remained cautious and respectful of each other for the remainder of the round, with Whittaker focusing mostly on leg kicks to attack a bruised and noticeably more tired Till.
Whittaker started out the third round by landing a kick on Till’s lead leg. Whittaker and Till both swerved to avoid head kicks from each other. Till seemed to have an issue with his eye, but encouraged Whittaker to keep coming at him. Whittaker took a shot for the single leg, but disengaged quickly. With about 40 seconds left in the round, Whittaker again shot for the single-leg, pushing Till against the cage, but Till was able to get his opponent away from him. The fight moved into the fourth round.
Both fighters used the first couple minutes of round four to try to manage space and throw a few strikes. An elbow from Till created an opening for him to charge forward with multiple strong strikes against Whittaker, who managed to fire back and graze Till on the chin. Whittaker went for the lead leg as if to snatch it up for a single-leg, but Till defended it quickly. With about a minute to go, Whittaker moved forward to clinch up with Till, though it only lasted a moment before they disengaged. Whittaker again pushed forward and tried to scoop up a single-leg, driving Till to the cage and throwing a knee before Till managed to get away.
Whittaker came in aggressive at the start of the fifth round, pushing forward with his front leg kicks against Till. Whittaker again shot for a takedown, but Till was able to defend. Till started to show the beating that his lead leg had taken, and Whittaker continued to focus on front leg kicks alongside his strikes. Both fighters pushed through to the end, though neither was able to finish the fight before it ended.
In the end, Robert Whittaker was declared the winner via unanimous decision.