There were two real stories of interest at UFC Vegas 36. First and foremost, the Middleweight main event did carry some relevant title implications. Even including that battle, however, perhaps a majority of the interest was focused on the main card opener of Paddy Pimblett vs. Luigi Vendramini.
Making waves in mixed martial arts (MMA) is a gift. There are undercards full of highly talented, exciting fighters who are unlikely to ever get a full article written about them beyond the highlight clip of their latest under-appreciated stoppage wins. Standing out is a gift that goes beyond fighting talent ... and Pimblett has it.
“The Baddy” is no dummy. He did not rush to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) like most up-and-comers. Instead, Pimblett built his brand in the United Kingdom by winning the Cage Warriors Featherweight crown. He also dealt with the awkward process of growing up and fully becoming a man, while also competing professional, settling into his current weight class at 155 pounds.
That’s a smart decision! Being stuck between weight classes can ruin a career — someone go check in on Kevin Lee — but Pimblett arrived in the Octagon looking like a strong, healthy Lightweight.
Once in the cage, both Pimblett’s strengths and weaknesses were quickly on display. On one hand, Pimblett flowed really well with his kicks, which controlled the early exchanges. Unfortunately, he was also keeping his head high in the pocket, which saw his opponent last night (Sat., Sept. 4, 2021), Luigi Vendramini, bomb him with the left hook on multiple occasions.
Still, getting absolutely hammered with hard punches gave us good insight into Pimblett’s toughness and mentality. As soon as he was back on his feet, Pimblett went back to work with his kicks. His confidence was unaffected, and as Vendramini took his foot off the gas a bit, Pimblett noticed.
He swarmed as a result, putting together a flurry of mean punches to stop his opponent in the very first round (watch highlights). Pimblett’s grappling — his actual strength! — was never utilized.
After the win, Pimblett braggadocios and charismatic behavior was flowing. He danced around the Octagon, acted like he was never in any trouble, and echoed Conor McGregor in his promise to “take over.” His fans (this event was originally scheduled for the United Kingdom) ate it up in person and online.
What is next for “The Baddy?” Fighters will surely call him out as he promised, because at the moment, there are major weaknesses in his defensive kickboxing. If he and UFC are smart, they will bring him up slowly. Another prospect along the lines of Vendramini would make a great deal more sense than a huge step up vs. a ranked or nearly ranked Lightweight.
Let Pimblett keep building hype as he improves his skills, and perhaps Pimblett really can develop into the cash cow that was promised.
For complete UFC Vegas 36: “Till vs. Brunson” results and play-by-play, click HERE!