SA’s Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman claim victory at UFC 282 bouts in Vegas

SA’s Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman claim victory at UFC 282 bouts in Vegas
Dricus du Plessis of South Africa punches Darren Till of England in a middleweight fight during the UFC 282 event at T-Mobile Arena on 10 December 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Dricus du Plessis continues to climb up the middleweight division after a gruelling victory over Darren Till at UFC 282 on Sunday morning, while Cameron Saaiman knocked out Steven Koslow on his UFC debut.

In typical Dricus du Plessis (18-2) fashion, the burly South African came out guns blazing in his middleweight clash with Briton Darren Till (18-5-1) on Sunday morning in Las Vegas. 

The combination of haymakers and takedowns thrown by Du Plessis saw him winning the first round relatively easily at UFC 282 at the T-Mobile Arena. 

However, the opening five-minute slugfest seemed to completely tire Du Plessis, as evidenced by his breathing heavily through his mouth in the second round. 

Till had a solid second round, exploiting the tiring South African with his massive left hand. 

But after five minutes of rest in the second, Du Plessis was re-energised and secured an early takedown in the third round before locking Till in a rear-naked chokehold which forced the Liverpudlian to tap and hand Du Plessis his fourth successive win at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and his first on a main card. 

“The gas tank can never be empty,” Du Plessis said after the gruelling battle. 

“It can go a little bit low but it never goes empty. Third round, it comes down to that dog and who is the toughest. Bring on that last round, we are always going to win it. 

“I just beat freaking Darren Till, how awesome is that? Hello, top 10,” he exclaimed in the ring. 

The victory means Du Plessis remains undefeated in the UFC and breaks into the top 10 of the middleweight rankings in his quest to take the throne currently held by Alex Pereira. 

“I just got a proper stamp in a Fight of the Night, in the top 10 of the division,” Du Plessis said. 

“I said in my last fight that I will be in the top 10 before the end of the year. Here I am, and I’m telling you guys now, I’ll be a title contender by the end of 2023.” 

SA’s Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman claim victory at UFC 282 bouts in Vegas

Dricus du Plessis of South Africa during his middleweight bout against Brad Tavares during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena on 2 July 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)

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Saaiman TKO

Another South African stepped into the octagon a few hours before Du Plessis’ historic victory. His training partner, Cameron Saaiman (7-0), made his UFC debut in the early prelims. 

Saaiman and Steven Koslow (6-1), who was also making his UFC debut, partook in an intriguing match, displaying tactical nous beyond both bantamweight fighters’ years (Saaiman is 21 and Koslow 25). 

Saaiman seemed to have the upper hand over the American in the first round but in the second, misfortune struck. After a well-executed counter against an attempted takedown by Koslow, Saaiman kneed Koslow in the head while he was on his knees — an illegal move in the UFC. 

The referees deliberated the decision, with Saaiman potentially facing disqualification for the illegal move; however, it was decided that only a point would be taken from the South African as the move was deemed accidental. 

With the knowledge that he was behind on the scoreboard, Saaiman moved away from the grappling game and engaged Koslow with his fists and knees in the final round, exhibiting his excellent kickboxing skills. 

“I knew for a fact I was behind — my coach is always honest with me [before] going out. This happened at The Contender series fight as well. We needed to go to the sixth gear and luckily we could do that,” said Saaiman after the fight. 

With less than 50 seconds left on the clock, Saaiman’s flurry of punches and kicks paid off as the referee stopped the fight and awarded the South African the victory via knockout. 

“Man, it’s such an experience. I personally want to apologise to everyone about the illegal knee,” Saaiman said to commentator Joe Rogan after the fight. 

“That was not my intention. But Vegas … this has been the time of my life. Thank you all so much. I’m having the time of my life. This is awesome. I want to thank my coach and all my teammates at CIT and I want to thank Uncle Dana and Mr Shelby, thank you so much for this opportunity. All glory to God.” DM


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