On paper, UFC Fight Night 147 was a pretty sleepy little card. Going down from London, the event aired Saturday afternoon in the U.S. and didn't hold many wider implications, unless you're a close follower of European MMA.
But what it lacked in wattage it attempted to recoup in sheer action. In the main event, two fan favorites in Liverpudlian knockout artist Darren Till and legendary Miami-based badass Jorge Masvidal squared off. The winner might not be ready for a welterweight title shot, but it would surely be a large line item on an application for that job.
In the co-main event, fast-rising British sensation Leon Edwards tried to make it seven straight against grappling sensation Gunnar Nelson.
Those were only two fights on the 12-bout slate. What else stood out? As always, the final stat lines do not reveal all. These are the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 147.
For the literal-minded among us, full card results appear at the end.
Loser: Happy Endings
On the whole, it was a pretty solid night for London fight fans at O2 Arena. Well-known Brits like Marc Diakiese, Arnold Allen, Jack Marshman and others went home with W's next to their names. We'll get to more of that in a minute.
But in the main event, Brits found disappointment. One of the biggest cult favorites in the UFC, Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal, flattened Darren Till in the second round, taking the full voice of the crowd with it.
Till was getting the better of Masvidal early, landing cleaner shots and using his size and strength to overpower the Miami native and absorb even his nastier shots. More than once, Till's power snapped Masvidal's head backward, prompting Masvidal to smile in approval.
It all changed in an instant in the second frame. Masvidal switched stances and darted inside with a right jab, apparently looking to confuse Till. It worked, as Till shaded backward and exposed himself to an overhand left—a strike Masvidal said afterward was not part of his regular arsenal.
"I don't throw it very often, you know?" Masvidal told broadcaster Dan Hardy in the cage after the fight. "So I knew he'd never seen me throw it. No way he was practicing for that. I train these things a thousand times a day."
We can joke about this being a bad ending for London, but it's a good result for the welterweight division and one of its top veterans. After prolonged criticism over his tendency toward inactivity, Masvidal needed a high-octane win like this one. Although it wasn't the outcome London wanted, afterward Masvidal showed the heartfeltness, if that's a word, that has helped endear him to fans.
"Couldn't ask for a better opponent," he said of Till, who sat with his head down, presumably still dazed, on a nearby stool. "Man, this guy's tough. I was a little bit out in that first (round). Damn, he's f--king good, man. He's only 24, England. He's got so much more to go. I'm 34. He's gonna be a tiger one day. Right now, he's a young bull. He's gonna be a tiger, so pick him up."
To its full credit, the crowd cheered Masvidal's efforts and words. Fair play to all involved. Masvidal did predict he would fight for a title shot this year. With this being his first win after two straight losses, that may be a long shot. Then again, Till was No. 3 in the official welterweight rankings coming in to this bout.
For now, how about someone who ranked one spot above Masvidal before this bout at No. 10? More on him right now.
Winner: Leon Edwards
Leon Edwards made it seven straight with the most high-profile win of his career. He battered Gunnar Nelson and weathered takedown attempts and grappling exchanges to take a split-decision win that didn't deserve to be split.
The definitive move of the fight was a hellacious Edwards elbow off the clinch break late in the second round. It sent the tough-chinned Nelson directly to the floor and raised a serious hematoma at the corner of his eye.
Edwards controlled most of the bout from there. Would I watch him fight Masvidal? Darn right.
"I'm on a seven-fight win streak in the hardest division in the world. I'm really pleased with my progress," the 27-year-old Edwards said in a statement the UFC emailed to reporters after the fight. "Right now I'm looking ahead to my next fight. I want to take on the winner of the next fight (Till vs. Masvidal) and make a statement."
Edwards also called for an eventual rematch with Kamaru Usman, the new welterweight champ and last man to defeat Edwards, all the way back in 2015. He may have to take a number on that, but there are plenty of interesting matchups to place while he waits.
No matter who he faces next, Edwards has definitively earned the respect he believes he's yet to receive from UFC matchmakers and fans. This is a good fighter who is some kind of fun to watch. Bring him out of the shadows.
Winner: Nathaniel Wood
In a canny bit of matchmaking from the UFC brain trust, London native and bantamweight prospect Nathaniel Wood had a chance to break out Saturday when he faced a reasonably accomplished lower-tier name in Jose Quinonez.
The Prospect took advantage. The 25-year-old ran his pro record to 16-3, choking out Quinonez in the second round for his 14th stoppage win. That's a pretty good stoppage rate, if you care about such things, which you do, and it also ran him to 3-0 under the UFC banner.
"Fighting here in London definitely gave me an advantage in the lead-up to the fight, because all I wanted to do was impress the fans here," Wood said in a statement after the fight. "Yes, of course, I am here to win, but the fans here were my motivation, if it wasn't for this London card, I probably wouldn't have fought for a little while as I have just fought. This London card meant everything to me and I delivered, honestly, I love the fans here."
You think that's something that might cement his popularity? If not, how about a bout next with Ricky Simon? No reason we can't have a little fun here.
Loser: Saparbek Safarov
Yes, Saparbek Safarov won by decision over Nicolae Negumereanu, and it probably wasn't an overly close decision at that.
But he's listed as a loser here for his repeated rules violation—including one that forced the referee to deduct a point—and just being a part of the absolute worst fight on this card.
Negumereanu wrested the advantage during multiple grappling sequences along the fence, only for Safarov to sap that momentum by grabbing the chain link at critical moments. The ref didn't step in until the outcome of the fight was probably not in question.
I mean, it's up to the referees to handle warnings and point deductions as they believe their training dictates, and every referee and fighter and situation is different. Personally, and bear with me here, if the goal is to protect the fighters at all times, why is it the perpetrators who always seem to receive that protection? I don't know. Safarov won on the judges' scorecards, but I watched him grab the fence a bunch of times in a way that may have swung the fight in his favor. So in this space, he takes the L.
UFC Fight Night 147 Full Card Results
Jorge Masvidal def. Darren Till by KO, 3:05, Rd. 2
Leon Edwards def. Gunnar Nelson by split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
Dominick Reyes def. Volkan Oezdemir by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Nathaniel Wood def. Jose Quinonez by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:46, Rd. 2
Claudio Silva def. Danny Roberts by submission (armbar), 3:37, Rd. 3
Jack Marshman def. John Phillips by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Arnold Allen def. Jordan Rinaldi by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Marc Diakiese def. Joseph Duffy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Saparbek Safarov def. Nick Negumereanu by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-27)
Dan Ige def. Danny Henry by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:17, Rd. 1
Molly McCann def. Priscila Cachoeira by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Grundy def. Nad Narimani by TKO, 4:42, Rd. 2
Scott Harris covers MMA and other topics for Bleacher Report.