Darren Till was counted out by many before he even stepped into the Octagon for his middleweight debut. But he used a smart strategy to beat Kelvin Gastelum by split decision at UFC 244. One judge had it 30-27 for Gastelum, but the two others had it 29-28 and 30-27 for “The Gorilla” at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. The win saw Till snap a two-fight losing streak, having been submitted by former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley last year before a devastating knockout by Jorge Masvidal in March. “I felt invincible before the Woodley fight, to come off two devastating losses and move up, and fight the bulldozer of middleweight division … it was a close fight that could’ve gone either way,” Till told Joe Rogan in the Octagon. “I proved a lot of the doubters wrong and I want youse [sic] to message me tonight and see my reply, ‘F*** youse’.” The 26-year-old Till almost didn’t make it to the fight either, after visa issues delayed his arrival in New York from England until Thursday. UFC 244: Lee KOs Gillespie with vicious head kick “I just got off a flight two days ago, but I felt kelvin was little bit stronger,” he said. “I think these guys are gonna have a little bit more strength on me. “I just wanna build myself back up, stay humble and cocky at the same time. So f*** all them doubters again.” The first round was a cagey affair, with both men respecting the other’s knockout power, as Till chopped away at Gastelum’s right leg with low kicks. An accidental eye poke by Gastelum saw the second round momentarily paused, but Till recovered quickly and continued to chip away at the Mexican-American. The Liverpudlian’s patient strategy was working and he was likely ahead on the scorecards heading into the third round. Gastelum tried to chase Till down but “The Gorilla” used his clinching to nullify him. Till took him down in the third but was unable to keep it on the ground. Gastelum then returned the favour twice late on but it was too little, too late.