Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight prospects Paddy Pimblett and Luigi Vendramini will throw down this weekend (Sat., Sept. 4, 2021) at UFC Vegas 36 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pimblett made his name in Cage Warriors, making good use of his grappling skill to capture the Featherweight crown. Since then, he’s relocated to the Lightweight division, though he failed to claim a second Cage Warriors title at 155 pounds. Vendramini, meanwhile, has yet to make a major impact in his trio of UFC bouts. “The Italian Stallion” did score a 72-second head kick knockout, but that victory is sandwiched between a pair of losses.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Julian Erosa (Cage Warriors Unplugged), Davide Martinez (Cage Warrios 122), Alexis Savvidis (Cage Warriors 90)
Key Losses: Soren Bak (Cage Warrios 96), Nad Narimani (Cage Warriors 82)
Keys to Victory: Pimblett is a grappler first and foremost. The English fighter excels when able to gain top position, as he’s often able to quickly advance through opponent’s defenses and secure dominant positions that produce stoppages.
In this match up of quality Brazilian jiu-jitsu players, Pimblett’s wrestling may end up the difference. Vendramini has yet to really face a UFC caliber takedown artist, as all three of his past foes inside the Octagon were strikers.
“The Baddy” should be looking to fight as much of this bout as possible from top position, as Vendramini definitely has venom in his fists. Once on top, Pimblett should prioritize control. Against a higher level of competition, the quick submission finish grows less likely, so dominating position becomes more important. Plus, he likely has a better chance of scoring a checkmate position by slowly advancing rather than catching his opponent in a wild scramble.
Key Wins: Jessin Ayari (UFC Fight Island 4), Adriano Andre (Aspera FC 56)
Key Losses: Elizeu Zaleski (UFC Fight Night 137), Fares Ziam (UFC 263)
Keys to Victory: Like his opponent, Vendramini is also a finisher. The Italian by way of Brazil is a black belt in jiu-jitsu with considerable knockout power, the 25 year old has yet to win via the judges’ scorecards.
Sprawl-and-brawl is the name of the game here. In general, Vendramini could also use a bit more actively, as his low pace cost him an otherwise winnable majority decision loss in his last appearance. Against a foe motivated to wrestle, volume is especially meaningful on the judges’ scoring cards, when otherwise a single takedown can overrule good work on the feet.
As mentioned, Vendramini is no slouch on the mat, and that gives him some additional roads to success. If Pimblett is hunting his back, Vendramini should be actively working for opportunities to spin into top position or generally reverse takedowns. Back in Cage Warriors, Nad Narimani really wore Pimblett out by surviving those bad positions then grinding the grappler out from top position.
No one is that great at jiu-jitsu after taking a few elbows and handful of deep breaths.
One prospect will look to break through in a crowded division.
Pimblett’s UFC debut has been a long time coming, and there’s some hype behind the young Brit. He’s a brash finisher who knows how to make headlines, and he has the unique look of a 1962 Beatle. If he can find consistent success at 155 pounds. inside the Octagon, Pimblett will likely rise through the ranks faster than most simply because he stands out.
On the flip side, Vendramini’s UFC career may be at risk. Lightweight does not allow for much wiggle room, not when so much talent is trying to break through. Fortunately, a win here would be the biggest of his young career, and given the generally dynamic nature of his victories, could buy him a good bit of job security.
The Brazilian prospect is just 25 years old himself, after all.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 36 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 36: “Brunson vs. Till” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Vegas 36, Paddy Pimblett and Luigi Vendramini will throw down. Which prospect earns the victory?