Outside of serving as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) talent pipelines, regional organizations give fans the chance to watch fighters develop from raw bundles of talent into seasoned mixed martial arts (MMA) weapons. Such is the case for English finisher Paddy Pimblett, who made his first Cage Warriors appearance in 2013 as an 18-year-old Bantamweight and ultimately became one of the promotion’s marquee talents.
“The Baddy” has made waves on social media recently with his brash personality, but does he have what it takes to back those words up? That’s what we’re here to find out ahead of this showdown with Luigi Vendramini at UFC Vegas 36, which takes place this weekend (Sat., Sept. 4, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett
Weight Class: Lightweight
Record: 16-3 (4 KO, 8 SUB)
Notable Victories: Julian Erosa
Liverpool’s Pimblett cut his teeth in Cage Warriors, where he fought almost exclusively from 2013 to 2021. The run included a stint as Featherweight champion, and he enters the cage this Saturday having won two straight and 12 of his last 14 bouts.
Venomous, scramble-heavy grappling is Pimblett’s calling card. Impressive speed, technique and flexibility make him particularly adept at taking the back, and he can deliver some remarkably hard ground-and-pound while chasing submissions. He’s capable of some remarkable feats of creativity, as seen in the two flying triangles he’s locked up during his professional career, and he only needs the slightest opening to thoroughly ruin his opponent’s day.
Plus, unlike some opportunistic submission specialists, he’s got the gas tank to pose a threat well into the championship rounds.
The rest of his game isn’t too shabby, either.
He’s put together a solid switch-hitting hands-low striking style, gliding around the ring with a kick-heavy attack and good counters. On the wrestling front, he’s got very good timing on his shots and does particularly good work with a double-leg to outside reap. He also showed a slick clinch throw in his most recent effort.
For all his laudable abilities, however, there’s a huge catch: Pimblett cannot deal with pressure. This was extremely evident in his 2019 fight with Soren Bak, which saw “The Baddy” fail to capture Lightweight gold. While Bak was clearly the inferior striking technician, he consistently landed heavy punches by simply marching forward as Pimblett retreated in a straight line with his hands down, especially once Pimblett’s reactive shot stopped working. These issues extend to the ground, where both Bak and prior conqueror Nad Narimani simply overpowered Pimblett despite Pimblett’s considerable submission skills.
He’s just not nearly as good a nail as he is a hammer.
In Pimblett’s defense, that Bak loss was two years ago, and he does seem to have put on some muscle in the interim that could help him avoid ceding the initiative. That said, he does still seem to back straight up under fire. I know I harp on that a lot in these breakdowns, but it’s a flaw that can sink careers if not addressed, and I’d much rather see Pimblett live up to his considerable potential.
If Pimblett can shore up his striking defense and add some lateral movement, he’s skilled enough to potentially find a spot in the rankings. If those issues remain, however, he’s in for a rude awakening in arguably the sport’s deepest division.
Opponent: He squares off with Italian bruiser Luigi Vendramini. This really comes down to who can set the tempo. Indeed, if Pimblett gets his wrestling going, he’s good enough to dominate on the mat. If Vendramini can keep it on the feet, he can definitely hurt Pimblett against the fence. It’s a coin flip, but gun to my head, I’d pick Pimblett.
Tape: His Cage Warriors bouts are on Fight Pass.
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.
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