Tag Archives: Paddy Pimblett

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to London’s O2 Arena for the second time this year for a stacked card, headlined by a heavyweight duel between top five big-men Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.

We’ll also see the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Mason Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Paul Craig and Muhammad Mokaev competing in an event sure to provide plenty of fireworks.

Last week at UFC Long Island we went 8/12 with three perfect picks, moving us up to 685/1032 (64.34%) with 284 perfect picks (42.77%). You can check out our full history of picks here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Big time scrap between supreme grappler and powerhouse striker opens up this main card. Craig has won his last four in a row and is unbeaten in six, with all five wins coming via finish. Oezdemir has lost his last two in a row, getting slept by Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 before dropping a decision to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 267 most recently.

Craig is an absolute beast when it comes to the jiu-jitsu game, with an incredible aggressive guard and unorthdox submission skills. Oezdemir is a poor grappler, but he earned his “No Time” nickname from putting people’s lights out quickly and with one punch. This honestly depends on how generous the referee is feeling, because Craig often likes to take a bunch of strikes on the ground before wrapping in a submission when his opponent gets excited.

Oezdemir is powerful enough to put him out early though, and his takedown defence is solid enough to keep this standing. But Craig tends to be incredibly aggressive with his grappling and if he gets into a position of strength on the ground then Oezdemir will be in trouble. It’ll be very exciting, but I expect Craig to have the fans behind him and grab another amazing submission win.
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (12-4) vs Hannah Goldy (6-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The owner of the knockout of the year so far is Molly McCann and that’s undisputed. McCann earned a stunning spinning back elbow to beat Luana Carolina last time out to make it back-to-back wins, while Goldy got her first UFC win with a first round armbar over Emily Whitmire last time out.

McCann is a boxer who was once a national champion and had the shortest reach in the entire UFC, meaning she had to learn to use her grappling and wrestling skills to close the distance. That was until Goldy signed, and she now is the owner of the shortest reach in the UFC. Goldy is a decent striker too but prefers to grind her opponents against the cage and try to be physical. She’s in trouble here though.

“Meatball” isn’t the biggest puncher in the world, but she’s incredibly aggressive and her pressure is relentless throughout 15 minutes. Her ability to get back to her feet will suit her here and using her reach and boxing skills she should be able to control this fight for the most part to earn yet another win, although a finish is pretty unlikely on this occasion.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Nikita Krylov (27-9) vs Alexander Gustafsson (18-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big time light heavyweight scrap between two highly experienced fighters. Krylov has lost three of his last four fights but all against elite competition, with Glover Teixeira, Magomed Ankalaev and Paul Craig all beating him soundly. He did claim a win over Johnny Walker in the middle of that run though. Gustafsson was once considered one of the best 205 pounders to never win gold when he retired, but since coming back he’s not had fun. He’s lost his comeback fight at heavyweight when Fabricio Werdum submitted him at UFC Fight Island 3.

Krylov is a brilliantly powerful puncher, but he’s also a solid grappler with good wrestling and top control. Gustafsson on the other hand is more of a boxer with great combinations and hand speed, although he’s shown his wrestling capabilities too – becoming the first man to ever take down Jon Jones. That said though, he’s five years out since his last win in the octagon.

Granted two years of that he was out of competition, but he’s 0-3 in his last 3 and he’s been beaten handily in all of those fights. In his prime I would expect Gustafsson to be able to string everything together and probably even claim a knockout. But this version of Gustafsson is slower and less durable and Krylov has been in there for a while against the very best, so I expect him to land another big win for his record.
PICK – Nikita Krylov via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (18-3) vs Jordan Leavitt (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The people’s main event in the lightweight division as “The Baddy” makes his return the O2. Pimblett has gone 2-0 in the UFC so far, knocking out Luigi Vendramini before submitting Kazulu Vargas last time out. Leavitt is 3-1 in the UFC, winning two in a row with a submission over Matt Sayles and then a decision against Trey Ogden.

Pimblett is a fine striker with good power and speed, but it’s his grappling and jiu-jitsu skills that really set him apart for many fans. Leavitt is a terrific grappler too, with excellent wrestling and strength and great idea for positioning for safety. Against someone like Pimblett, that will come in really handy as he is constantly looking to get the finish at the earliest possible opportunity.

With that said, Leavitt has a good chance of getting control early on when Pimblett is still going through the motions with the crowd and he’ll probably win the first round. But with a few tweaks, Pimblett should be able to land powerful strikes that could drop Leavitt and then sink in a choke to claim a third win and send the crowd wild.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 2

Jack Hermansson (22-7) vs Chris Curtis (29-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A short notice co-main event in this one, as Chris Curtis steps in for the injured Darren Till. Hermansson suffered defeats to Marvin Vettori and Sean Strickland in two of his last three fights, with a win over Edmen Shahbazyan coming in the middle of that. Curtis meanwhile has gone 3-0 in the UFC, KO’ing Phil Hawes at UFC 268 before KO’ing Brendan Allen (UFC Vegas 44) and then earning a decision over Rodolfo Vieira most recently.

Hermansson is a decent striker but his best fighting comes in the grappling on the mat, with great submissions and vicious ground and pound coming at the end of good wrestling takedowns. Curtis is a top level boxer with excellent low kicks, stunning power and really good takedown defence too. This is a real fairytale for Curtis, who has done nothing but impress in the UFC since his debut. This is a really, really tough fight to call.

Curtis is good enough to keep the fight standing and he’s got better striking without a doubt, but Hermansson is someone who uses his physicality well on his opponents as fights go on. With that said though, Curtis beat a better grappler about a month ago with his takedown defence and counter-striking so it’s hard to see how he doesn’t do it again.
PICK – Chris Curtis via Decision

Curtis Blaydes (16-3) vs Tom Aspinall (12-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Huge main event with potential title implications on the line in the heavyweight division headlines this card. Blaydes bounced back from a nasty KO loss to Derrick Lewis (UFC Vegas 19) by dominating Jairzinho Rozenstruik and then sleeping Chris Daukaus most recently. Aspinall is 5-0 in the UFC and absolutely dominated Alexander Volkov last time out via a straight arm lock in the first round at UFC London in March.

Blaydes is the best wrestler the heavyweight division has ever seen. He has a huge overhand right and a decent left jab, but everything is set up to change levels and take his opponent down to dominate from top position and land vicious ground and pound. Aspinall is one of the most well-rounded heavyweights we’ve seen, with incredible boxing and hand speed to go with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt too. He really is the total package. That makes this fight super hard to call.

Nobody has been able to stop Blaydes taking them down so far, and I don’t expect Aspinall to stuff a bunch of takedowns in this one either. But on his back he’s dangerous and on the feet he has an absolutely huge advantage with his boxing skills. Blaydes often doesn’t let his opponents up once he gets them down though, but we have seen him fade in five-round fights before when he’s forced to chain takedowns together through the fight. Aspinall has never been dragged into deep waters so we don’t know how he’ll cope, but we do know Blaydes has the capability of being put to sleep when entering for takedowns and Aspinall has the power and speed to counter quickly. Its hard, and I may be a bit bias, but I think Aspinall can get it done.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 4

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, and rounding off our prelims picks here, we move on to our main card picks now.


Jai Herbert (11-3) vs Ilia Topuria (11-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A banger of a fight to open the main card in the 155-pound division. Herbert earned his first win in the octagon with a first-round KO against Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 41, while Topuria is an undefeated prospect with his last win coming via brutal KO against Ryan Hall at UFC 264. This is Topuria’s debut at lightweight.

Herbert is a boxer with good power in his hands, but his defensive grappling isn’t great and that’s a big problem in this fight. Topuria is a super talented grappler with great cardio and also some solid boxing skills with knockout power. Topuria’s only disadvantage in this fight could end up being size, because he’s not the biggest in this weight class.

Topuria will trade on the feet until an opportunity for a takedown presents itself and he will take it immediately. Topuria will land nasty elbows on the mat, pass guard and eventually work to the back before snatching up the neck for an impressive win in quick fashion.
PICK – Ilia Topuria via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (11-4) vs Luana Carolina (8-2) – (Flyweight/135lbs)

‘Meatball’ is back and she’s back in London for this women’s flyweight bout on the main card. McCann suffered back-to-back defeats to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio before getting back in the win column against Ji Yeon Kim at UFC Vegas 36 most recently. Carolina has won her last two via decision, beating Poliana Botelho at UFC Vegas 25 and Lupita Godinez at UFC Vegas 40.

McCann is a pressure fighter who looks to use low kicks and boxing to force her opponent backwards and make them crumble. Carolina is a lengthy boxer herself, but she struggles to make the most of her reach advantage. Her takedown defence is good, but when it comes to mixing it all up she tends to be troubled and that’s what McCann is best at.

The Brit will be relentless with her forward pressure, will land strikes and will almost certainly mix it up with takedowns against teh cage and she’s good enough to hold Carolina down and control her for long periods of time. If Carolina is able to make reads and defend it though, her reach and speed should see her pick McCann apart. For my money, ‘Meatball’ comes forward enough to slip the reach disadvantage, get takedowns and win rounds.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Gunnar Nelson (17-5-1) vs Takashi Sato (16-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A strange welterweight bout up next on the main card between two guys returning from lengthy lay offs. Nelson is on a two-fight losing streak after defeats to Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns back in 2019, while Sato lost via submission to Miguel Baeza back in November 2020 at UFC Vegas 15.

Nelson is a brilliant submission fighter with a karate stance where he looks to counter strike to land on his opponents clean. Sato on the other hand is a solid striker with an excellent jab and good combinations, and is confident in the grappling but mostly struggles against elites in that field. Nelson is elite in that field, but he’s been away for so long it’s hard to get a proper read on him.

Sato is coming in on very short notice in this bout, which goes against him, and if Nelson is at least not completely rusty and done then he should be able to get a pretty convincing win here.
PICK – Gunnar Nelson via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (17-3) vs Kazula Vargas (12-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The most popular fighter on the card by a distance makes a return to the UK fight scene to take on Rodrigo Vargas. Pimblett earned a massive comeback knockout win at UFC Vegas 36 against Luigi Vendramini, while Vargas snapped a two-fight losing streak against Rongzhu at UFC 261 last time out.

Pimblett is a solid all-rounder, with excellent submissions skills and much improved striking in recent years with great knockout power. Vargas on the other hand is a decent boxer with plenty of experience but while he has a bigger frame and could overpower Pimblett, the trouble is he’s outmatched in skill.

‘The Baddy’ is a great kicker from range and has got the ability to take this fight wherever he feels he has the most advantage. He has promised a first-round finish, so who am I to go against that. Pimblett lands a hard right hand to drop Vargas and then jumps on the neck for a quick finish.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 1

Arnold Allen (17-1) vs Dan Hooker (21-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A truly brilliant fight in the featherweight division in the co-main event as both guys look to become a serious contender at 145-pounds. Allen is on a ten-fight win streak, including a big decision of Sodiq Yusuff last time out at UFC Vegas 23. Hooker on the other hand has lost three of his last four to Dustin Poirier (UFC Vegas 4), Michael Chandler (UFC 257) and Islam Makhachev (UFC 267) most recently with a win against Nasrat Haqparast just before that at UFC 266. He returns to featherweight for the first time since 2016.

Allen is a tremendous wrestler and solid defensive fighter on the feet who knows exactly what he’s good at and goes straight to it. Hooker on the other hand is a striker who doesn’t want to be on the ground, but is capable of holding his own down there and battling to get it back into a striking battle. Allen will not allow that.

‘Almighty’ is strong in the grappling, good enough to hold his own in the striking, has constant volume, is younger, fresher and won’t be struggling with the weight cut. This is his chance to make a real impact on the division and I think he does just that.
PICK – Arnold Allen via Decision

Alexander Volkov (34-9) vs Tom Aspinall (11-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight main event in what should be an absolute banger. Volkov has won three of his last four, with defeat to Ciryl Gane at UFC Vegas 30 splitting up wins over Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem (UFC Vegas 18) and Marcin Tybura (UFC 267) most recently. Aspinall is an undefeated 4-0 in the UFC with stoppage wins over Jake Collier (UFC Fight Island 3), Alan Baudot (UFC Fight Island 5), Andrei Arlovski (UFC Vegas 19) and Sergei Spivak (UFC Vegas 36).

Volkov and Aspinall are both tremendous boxers, with brilliant jabs and combinations as well as legitimate knockout power. The difference between the two fighters is that Aspinall is a true grappler also, with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and some solid wrestling too. Aspinall has a speed advantage and with a five-year age gap, his cardio has looked good so far. He has never fought in front of a live UFC crowd though and has never had a five-round fight in his career.

This fight will stay on the feet for the early exchanges as Aspinall looks to test the chin and make reads. His jab is more than good enough to land despite the size advantage but it’s the submission and grappling threat that will open up a big opportunity for him to land a combination. That could be enough to put Volkov out, but if not he’ll take the neck and secure a submission as a result to claim the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 3

Five things not to miss at UFC London

It’s fight week baby and for the first time in three years the UFC is back in London, England for a hugely exciting fight card.

Headlined by heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall as he looks to crack the top five against Alexander Volkov, the UFC have put some of Britain and Europe’s best talent together on the card for the fans.

But while there are some obvious headlines coming out of the card, here are some thing to look out for that you definitely don’t want to miss.



PADDY PIMBLETT AND ILIA TOPURIA BEEF

There’s a big rivalry brewing between these two hot prospects in the UFC, and the fact they’ve been in different weight classes may not even matter.

Ilia Topuria is an undefeated featherweight contender, currently sitting with a record of 11-0 and scheduled to fight against Jai Herbert at this event. But that fight will now take place at 155lbs, after a botched weight cut most recently.

Pimblett is one of the biggest names to come out of the UK & Ireland since Conor McGregor, with a record of 17-3 after winning his UFC debut in the lightweight division. He will fight Kazula Vargas at UFC London.

But these two have gone back and forth on social media in recent months and even came to blows in the hotel during check-in. If both are able to secure wins, don’t be surprised to see them meet in the octagon against each other before too long.

MUHAMMAD MOKAEV – A STAR WILL BE BORN

There a few undefeated prospects on this card, and one of the most exciting is Muhammad Mokaev in the flyweight division.

After going 23-0 in the amateur scene, Mokaev is now 6-0 (1 no contest) as a professional and will make his UFC debut against Cody Durden during the prelims section of the card.

Compared to Khamzat Chimaev and Khabib Nurmagomedov, the 21-year-old has a very bright future and you don’t want to miss out on the birth of a superstar at UFC London this weekend.

JACK SHORE V TIMUR VALIEV! – FIGHT OF THE NIGHT

Without doubt the fight of the night, and somehow it’s only on the prelims section of the card in the O2 Arena.

Shore is 15-0 and one of the best English talents in mixed martial arts, but he faces the toughest test of his career to date when he takes on the incredibly talented Valiev in their bout at 135-pounds.

Both men are incredibly well-rounded and will look to make an impression, with the bantamweight division one of the most stacked in the entire company. A win would be huge for both, and this should be fireworks. So don’t miss it!

ARNOLD ALLEN – NEXT FEATHERWEIGHT CONTENDER

Featherweight is screaming for a new contender at the top of the division, and Arnold Allen has the chance to make that place his own.

Currently ranked at number 7, ‘Almighty’ will take on Dan Hooker who returns from an exciting run at lightweight back into the division he originally entered the UFC in.

A high-profile win for Allen against a household name like Hooker would see the attention Allen gets rise exponentially, but also make his claims for a title shot far more legitimate.

With Alexander Volkanovski defending his title against Korean Zombie next month at UFC 273 and Max Holloway next in line, a win for Allen sets him up for a number one contender fight later this year to get a crack at gold in 2023.

TOM ASPINALL TITLE CHALLENGE?

The heavyweight headliner, Aspinall will fight in front of a UFC crowd for the very first time despite being 4-0 in the organisation after making his debut in 2020.

Taking on a veteran like Volkov is never easy, but there will be added pressure with the fight being in his home nation and in his first main event.

A win however would see him enter the title picture. Francis Ngannou is unlikely to fight again until the end of the year at best, it opens up plenty of opportunities for those around him.

The likes of Stipe Miocic, Tai Tuivasa, Ciryl Gane and even Jon Jones are hanging around, while Derrick Lewis will be keen to get back to winning ways too. The opportunities are aplenty with a win, but he must get a win first and foremost.

UFC Vegas 36: Brunson vs Till – Main card predictions

The UFC middleweight division is back in the spotlight in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night, on a card that was supposed to take place in London initially.

The main event will see Derek Brunson take on the UK’s own Darren Till with the winner making a case to become the next fighter to challenge for a title shot after Robert Whittaker’s upcoming rematch with Israel Adesanya.

In the co-main event is the UK’s best chance at heavyweight gold as Tom Aspinall takes on short-notice opponent Sergei Spivac, while Paddy Pimblett makes his UFC debut in the main card opener when he takes on Luigi Vendramini.

Last week at UFC Vegas 35, we went 7/12 with three perfect picks on the night to move up to 396/624 (63.46%) with 174 perfect picks (43.94%). We’ll try to improve on that here and after starting with the prelims here, we now move on to the main card.


Paddy Pimblett (16-3) vs Luigi Vendramini (9-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Finally the debut of Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett as he takes on ‘Italian Stallion’ Luigi Vendramini in the lightweight division. Pimblett has won his last two in a row in Cage Warriors, securing first-round stoppages both times. Vendramini returned from two years away to beat Jessin Ayari before losing his next fight to Fares Ziam at UFC 263.

Pimblett is a fantastic grappler, with seven submission wins in his career including a stunning flying triangle back in 2018. He’s cleaned up his striking throughout his career as he’s grown up but he’s still primarily a ground fighter. Vendramini is very well-rounded with excellent solid striking on the feet and some really good wrestling too.

If Vendramini chooses to keep this fight standing and just strike, he has a very real chance of victory. But if there are any sort of ground exchanges then Pimblett has the edge and Vendramini will be in danger. Because of Vendramini’s natural instinct being to wrestle too, I think Pimblett may be able to wrap up his neck and steal the show with a fun submission.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 2

Modestas Bukauskas (11-4) vs Khalil Rountree Jr (9-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A very interesting fight at 205lbs as Bukauskas takes on Rountree Jr. Bukauskas won his debut via elbows against the cage before getting stopped by Jimmy Crute and then losing a split decision to Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC 260, while Rountree Jr has also lost his last two including the most recent to Marcin Prachnio at UFC 257.

Bukauskas is a solid kickboxer with good top control when asked to grapple too, while Rountree has shown a new Muay Thai side to his game but has failed to live up to the performance he debuted it with back in 2018. Bukauskas hits really hard and is good fighting backwards, but Rountree likes to dictate from the centre and throw good leg kicks followed by clinches and a crisp right cross.

His issue is that he never really commits to winning a fight. Rountree seems to be content going to the judges by sticking to his plan, while Bukauskas is someone who is always looking for a finish and willing to take a shot to give two back. Overall, the Lithuanian should be able to take whatever is coming back at him by applying plenty of pressure and landing heavy shots of his own for a big win.
PICK – Modestas Bukauskas via Knockout, Round 1

Alex Morono (19-7) vs David Zawada (17-6) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Another very interesting fight but this time in the welterweight division. Alex Morono is coming in off the back of his stunning knockout win over ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26, while Zawada has lost three of his last four including a split decision last time out against Ramazan Emeev at UFC Fight Island 7.

Morono is a brawler with great volume and some decent power in his hands with good technique, while Zawada has got plenty of power in his hands and he looks to come forward and engage in a war at all times. Zawada has 11 KO’s throughout his career but it’s his forward pressure that really sets him apart from others.

With that said though, Morono is the better fighter of the two. He’s shown that short notice doesn’t really matter to him in the past and while he’s got great volume and power himself, I think his defensive abilities will see him earn another win.
PICK – Alex Morono via Decision

Tom Aspinall (10-2) vs Sergey Spivak (13-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A banger of a heavyweight co-main event as Aspinall takes on short-notice opponent Sergey Spivak. Aspinall is undefeated in the UFC with two first round KO’s followed up by a second round submission win over former champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 19. Spivak steps in on short notice on a three-fight win streak, with his most recent being a decision win over Aleksei Oleinik at UFC Vegas 29.

Aspinall is a brilliant boxer who used to train with Tyson Fury, but he’s also a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu too as shown in his most recent win. Spivak is a good wrestler with decent jiu-jitsu and some okay boxing on the outside too. Aspinall is by far the more powerful of the two, with a sharp jab and a violent right hand. Spivak is no slouch himself though and on paper this is a really good match up.

If Spivak can get top position then Aspinall could struggle to get any offence going but Aspinall is capable of preventing any takedown and picking him apart on the feet. Realistically this is what I expect from this one, with Aspinall using his jabs and leg kicks to open up some power strikes later in the fight for a big win.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 2

Derek Brunson (22-7) vs Darren Till (18-3-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger at middleweight in a fight where title contention becomes a reality for the winner. Derek Brunson is on a tear right now with a four-fight win streak including a fantastic main event win over Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22 while Till has lost three of his last four with a defeat to Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Island 3 last time out.

Brunson is a wrestler first with takedowns the biggest part of his game, as he looks for top control after landing his left hand. Till on the other hand is a pure striker with brilliant strikes and kicks and tremendous power in his own left hand too. Brunson will almost certainly look to close distance and take Till down, but when he rushes forward he often leaves his chin up and Till doesn’t let those opportunities slide by often.

Till has got genuine one-punch knockout power, great hand speed and he goes into every fight knowing the opponent will want to take him down so his defence isn’t poor. It’s a case of how successful Brunson can be with his takedowns but I think Till will be able to land big shots to earn a knockout win for the first time since Donald Cerrone in 2017.
PICK – Darren Till via Knockout, Round 3

Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett finally arrives in the UFC and he has a point to prove

MMA fans have waited half a decade for this day and it is finally upon us, Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett makes his UFC debut this Saturday in Las Vegas at the Apex.

He opens up the main card against Brazilian Luigi Vendramini on a card that is stacked with British talent and he may just prove to be the best of the lot.

This event was put together with the intention of being held in London in front of a full O2 Arena which would have been the perfect coming out party for the scouser. But with the UFC unable to get isolation rules waived for their non-UK staff, the party is postponed for now and Pimblett will have to prove his hype in a venue without fans.

It’s a massive shame for ‘The Baddy’ but probably more for the UFC themselves that they can’t showcase their new star in front of a fanatic crowd.

His well known walkout to his own mash up of songs will get any UFC attendance pumped but starting off in front of a home crowd would have been a perfect way to introduce the future lightweight contender.

That won’t affect Paddy when the cage is shut though. His last two fights were behind closed doors which both resulted in first round stoppages and he’s expecting similar this weekend.

Speaking to Mike Owens Media, Pimblett said ‘I’m gonna put it on him in a big way and he’s getting finished in one or two, I’m getting that performance bonus.” This match up certainly gives him that chance.

Vendramini doesn’t shy away from a fight and will meet Paddy in the middle if he wants to, but it will likely come down to whether Vendramini can deal with the Scousers unique and awkward grappling.

Pimblett is so quick, extremely flexible and can throw up submission attempts when you least expect it. Don’t be surprised to see him attempt a few on Saturday.

Vendramini though has plenty of motivation for this fight. Having lost in his last outing he is now 1-2 in the UFC and has admitted his only win kept him from getting a ‘normal job’, for the time being at least. A loss would mean one win in four and a likely cut from the roster on the horizon.

Should Paddy get the debut win, he’ll no doubt make the most of his interview post fight with Michael Bisping and have a well rehearsed call out prepared. Now it’s confirmed he’ll be contending in the lightweight division too, there’s plenty of names there to do so.

Pimblett is adamant he’s on his way to superstar status and insists he’s here to takeover much similar to a previous former two-weight Cage Warriors champion, Conor McGregor.

The comparisons with the Irish superstar aren’t just throw away comments. ‘The Baddy’ has all the attributes to become a household name and have a long and successful UFC career and this Saturday evening is the start of that journey.

New recruit Paddy Pimblett will take the UFC to new heights

It was always going to happen eventually but it is finally official – Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett is a UFC fighter.

After yet another highlight reel finish at Cage Warriors 122, Pimblett finally accepted the UFC’s calls to join the number one organisation in the sport after making a plea to the camera to Dana White to get it done.

He’s a fighter the UFC have wanted for a long time now. An offer was previously made in 2016 when Paddy was just 21-years-old after he won the featherweight belt but Graham Boylan, the Cage Warriors owner, came up with a better financial package to keep hold of him.

Pimblett himself has also admitted he wasn’t ready at that time anyway and needed to gain more experience before making the step up and that’s certainly what has happened.

He’s gone from boy to man in the five years since and grown both physically and mentally. Having already gone through the lows of losing big fights and suffering a lengthy injury lay off, at just 26 he’s fully experienced the rollercoaster lifestyle of a professional MMA career.

Coming back from adversity to get two consecutive first round finishes has proved that Pimblett is ready for this new phase of his career.

The potential impact a UFC career can have on MMA in the UK is huge from ‘The Baddy’s point of view. He has a unique following like we haven’t seen before and has a fanatically, loyal young fan base. If you were to look into the crowd at some of the events he is part of, you’d be forgiven for thinking the WWE were in town.

Now that’s not meant as any disrespect by the way, it shows just how much of a hero this man is to the young MMA fan, especially in his hometown of Liverpool. Some have followed Paddy since his debut win in 2012 at just 17 years old on the same card as another UFC fighter, Darren Till.

The Echo arena is sold out in a flash whenever Pimblett has featured on a Cage Warriors card. He’s a big draw already and his stardom cannot be downplayed – no other fighter to never compete in the UFC bubble trends like Paddy does after a fight.

Liverpool is the home of MMA in England and is littered with gyms all over the city, but Pimblett has the potential to influence the next generation across the entire country and help to grow the sport and continue to prove its credibility. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world and the wave in the UK is about to get even bigger.

Pimblett has the character and charisma to potentially headline events for the UFC in the future. He can rock a microphone too, so expect him to say some outlandish things and bring some much needed energy to UFC press conferences again.

His walkouts are full of energy and with his trademark entrance music he gets a full arena hyped up and rocking before he enters the cage. He is a true showman and entertainer when it comes to everything outside the octagon.

Most importantly though, he has the ability to back his talk up. On the ground and in the grappling phases he his a dominant monster and it’s usually a wrap once a fight goes that way. Pimblett’s striking game has been his weakness but has gotten much better as his career has gone on and that will only continue to improve as he moves over to compete with the best of the best. Wrestling is the hardest part of the sport to learn, so he’s mastered the correct art first.

There’s potential for a Conor McGregor-like come up if Paddy finds his home in the UFC, although that is probably pushing it a little. The likelihood is that he’ll be eased into the featherweight division picture because of his marketability, but don’t be shocked to see him put straight into the fire on a main card.

With a contract signed and match-making decisions ready to be made, the possibility of Pimblett featuring on the expected Poirier vs McGregor 3 card at UFC 264 in July is mouth-watering and could see the UK rights holder BT Sport pull in their biggest pay-per-view figures ever.

You can make the argument that he is a bigger name and has a bigger following than 90% of the current UFC roster, so it would be surprising if we saw him used on any prelims. Paddy, like any successful and confident young man, has his haters. He’s a marmite character but any negativity is drowned out by his noisy supporters.

We’ve waited a long time for the inevitable to happen and see Pimblett in the octagon and the noise he will make doing so is going to expand the growth of MMA in the UK and Europe to new, higher heights.

He’s already achieved so much in his career but this is just the beginning of even greater things for Paddy Pimblett. The city of Liverpool are united in support of him but soon the entire UK will be talking about him.