Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Derek Brunson vs Darren Till

    Reed Kuhn is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and strategy and analytics consultant. He is the author of “Fightnomics: The Hidden Numbers and Science in Mixed Martial Arts,” the first book to quantify drivers and performance metrics in combat sports.

The calendar has turned over to September, and in the United States it’s time to celebrate Labor Day weekend. As you fire up the grill on Saturday, there are some daytime UFC fights to enjoy.

The main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+) features Darren Till and Derek Brunson, two top-10 middleweights fighting to stay in the conversation in an increasingly crowded title picture. Even with current champion Israel Adesanya unlikely to defend his title before early 2022, Brunson and Till can likely put themselves one fight away from the next shot at the champion, whether it be Adesanya, Robert Whittaker or someone else.

Till has had a title shot in the UFC before, albeit at welterweight, while Brunson has been on the precipice of such a fight a couple times in his UFC career. Brunson enters on a four-fight winning streak, while Till looks to turn things around after losing three of his last four fights against some of the biggest names in the sport — Whittaker, Jorge Masvidal and Tyron Woodley.

Despite their recent records, Till enters Saturday’s fight as the favorite — but the odds (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, as of Thursday morning) are tight.

Middleweights: Darren Till (-175) vs Derek Brunson (+150)

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