Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight talents Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon will collide this weekend (Sat., Dec. 10, 2022) at UFC 282 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pimblett is on the fast track to super stardom. He’s already more popular than just about every non-UFC champion outside of a handful of names like Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal! Three fights, three wins, and three finishes into his UFC run, Pimblett is facing the most established test of his young career. A UFC veteran since 2017, it didn’t take long for Gordon to prove himself as a really hard-nosed grinder. “Flash” is about as tough as they come, and he’s won four of his last five heading into this marquee contest.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Julian Erosa (Cage Warriors Unplugged), Jordan Leavitt (UFC London 2), Rodrigo Vargas (UFC London), Luigi Vendramini (UFC Vegas 36)
Key Losses: Soren Bak (Cage Warriors 96), Nad Narimani (Cage Warriors 82)
Keys to Victory: Pimblett is a quality athlete entering into his prime. He accomplished some big wins at a relatively young age, but now it’s all timing out well that Pimblett is picking up momentum just as he also fully matures into his fighting prime.
This is a pretty classic match up of dynamic young finisher and more experienced grinder. Pimblett hits harder, and he’s the more serious submission threat by a considerable margin. However, the two are likely pretty comparable wrestlers, and Gordon is more proven in his ability to push a wrestling match for 15 minutes.
We’ve all seen young talents get frustrated and fatigued from bottom position in the past. Hell, it happened to Pimblett himself against Narimani back in the day. Hopefully, Pimblett has the experience necessary to avoid such a fate, which can happen especially easily if a prospect buys into his own hype.
If Pimblett can remain measured, he should be able to dictate the fight with heavy punches and occasional takedowns. Going out guns blazing in pursuit of the finish is not the right strategy, and it could really backfire.
Key Wins: Joe Solecki (UFC Vegas 38), Hacran Dias (UFC Fight Night 119), Leonardo Santos (UFC 278), Chris Fishgold (UFC Fight Island 1)
Key Losses: Charles Oliveira (UFC Fight Night 164), Grant Dawson (UFC Vegas 53), Joaquim Silva (UFC on FOX 31)
Keys to Victory: Gordon is not a complicated fighter. He pushes a hard pace on the feet and the canvas, walking his opponents down with big right hand swings and constant takedown attempts. When he does drag his foe down, he’s relentless in chipping away with punches.
Gordon wants a close quarters fight here. Pimblett has a height, reach, and speed advantage, and he does good work at distance with hard kicks and surging combinations. If Gordon hangs out at that distance, he’s more likely to get cracked than the opposite.
Instead, Gordon should be pressing Pimblett. Going high and low with the jab will help him close forward safely, as well as set up his right hand. If Gordon can back Pimblett up to the cage, his foe’s athleticism matters a good deal less, as he’ll be much more hittable target and less likely to explode forward.
All of that sets up Gordon’s wrestling too. If Gordon can land a takedown or two early, he’s far more likely to enforce his will over the entire bout. Getting Pimblett on the defensive is key, because he’s simply not as skilled at being the nail compared to the hammer.
It’s no secret who the A-side is here.
Pimblett is on a path to being one of the sport’s biggest stars, evidenced by this co-main event slot against a man who’s never previously been on a pay-per-view (PPV) main card at all. Gordon is a reasonable step up in competition, an opportunity for the Pimblett train to keep rolling without breaking into the ranks just yet. If Pimblett wins, he’ll surely grow his star and take another small step forward next time out.
If he loses, Pimblett will still be popular, but the fight world will know for certain he’s not a contender (at least yet).
On the other hand, Gordon has an opportunity to pick up the biggest win of his career on his biggest stage yet! “Flash” has fought well lately, winning more often than not and establishing his place in the division. I don’t know that victory here really pushes him much higher up the ladder, but it would certainly set him up for another more high-profile fight next.
At UFC 282, Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon will throw down in the co-main event. Which man earns the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 282 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (on ESPN2/ESPN+) at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 282: “Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.